Psalm 23 says that God provides in our times of want. But how do we contend with times of acute boredom, or worse, an emptiness of spirit? These times we lack... something that would spark us up, something that would cast us out of our doldrums. Yet, the Psalm indicates we ‘lack nothing’ in God.
A certain blahish sadness envelopes the emotive soul as it grapples with the landscape of nothingness. This is foreign to us, or at least it feels foreign. It seems we never get used to it.
And life’s like this a lot when we are honest, yet a vast majority of the time we perhaps rest on a crutch, be it a substance, food, sex, or even exercise in preference to the ministry of his Spirit. We reject these ‘nothing’ times out of hand sending them to the basement of our souls that we never quite want to revisit.
Yet these maladaptive coping measures do little to affect what we’re really feeling. They address the symptom but not the cause. They do not pay appropriate credence to the stuff we’re dealing with. In this, God’s bringing something across our bows for a reason. He’s making us uncomfortable because there’s truth to deal with.
And the cause can only be addressed in a sense when we confront and “sit with” the state of being we’re experiencing. Again, this is totally foreign—it’s a state of being that we must learn to sit with, and not only endure, but grow from.
I’m no different from you. I’ve gone from crutch to substance to pleasure to activity... all to escape the trappings of my very soul... and for what? That is to finally learn that the very best experience—the only one which holds water—is that of sitting with God in the middle of a bereft spirit so that he alone might minister the whisper of his all-attending grace.
‘Sitting Shivah’ with ourselves and bearing with the pain of emptiness opens us to a strange experience all itself. Tears may come, awkwardness aplenty... yet, he is there. In our aloneness and void he is there treating us ultra-specially as his very own son or daughter. Afterwards we are blessed, in abundance. But not before the journey’s both undertaken and completed obediently.
And that’s the essence of Psalm 23 for me. When all is said and done it is God and me, God and you. That’s a truth that’s inescapable. “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing...” Finding him is finding our self.