Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
~ Psalm 23:6
I often recite the 23rd Psalm at the bedside of patients who are in the final days of life. It's not uncommon for this to be the Psalm that families seem to cling to as a reminder of God's presence while in the, "valley of the shadow of death," and the promise, "that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
While the depth of the Psalm changes with the situation, for me, I am often grateful when I arrive at the line where I am reminded that, "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."
It is the reminder that I often need when I look to the day ahead and realize that I believe in a God that desires these things for me.
So often, we end our prayers, "Lord, in Your mercy," we are reminded that mercy is essential in our relationship to God.
Our cry for mercy exists when we find that we are willing to confess that somehow, somewhere, we ourselves have something to do with our losses. The longer I live, the more I seem to understand that mercy happens when I realize the truth of what I have done. Accepting blame, even when I have been a bystander, helps me to better understand the pain in the world. Accepting blame always helps us to understand our own role in human brokenness.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me," is an invitation that is a prayer lifted from our heart where God's mercy knows our brokenness. Owning our pain and brokenness allows for God's mercy to flow through us, and ultimately to others.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.