“Give me the estimate and let me see if I’m still breathing after I see it,” I said to the carpet guy at Home Depot. We were going to have to replace all of the carpet in our rental house. Slowly he turned the monitor and pointed to the number.
“Okay then,” I said calmly.
Inside: Oh my word! We do not have that kind of money. Panic. Shallow breathing.
The guy turned back to the computer, to get me a computer print-out of the estimate. That is when I did something that changed everything on my insides. I turned my mind to God.
For a few weeks, I had been reading Dallas Willard’s book Life without Lack: Living in The Fullness of Psalm 23. He instructed his readers to read Psalm 23 before reading every chapter in his book, and I had decided to memorize the whole Psalm in Spanish. That meant I had Psalm 23 on hand in Home Depot.
So I said to my anxious self:
El SEÑOR es mi pastor, nada me falta…No temo peligro alguno porque tú estás a mi lado.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:1 and part of verse 4 NIV)
Could I really believe that I would lack nothing, even though the numbers in our checkbook stated matter-of-factly that we lacked carpet money by a large margin?
That’s when I looked over at the empty chair next to me. In Spanish, Psalm 23 tells me that the LORD is at my side. The Creator of the universe was in the chair next to me at Home Depot. The one who spoke matter into being, who made the fabrication of carpet even possible, was right there. If I were to fall for the idea that I lacked what I needed for our rental carpet, I would have to throw out my belief that Jesus could do things like feed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and fish. He either can take care of what we lack or he can’t. He either cares about our needs or he doesn’t.
The Home Depot carpet expert had no idea that my mind was seeing the all-sufficient, eternal God of the universe in the chair next to me. He had no idea I was turning my heart to worship the Shepherd while he was hitting “print” on a page that had impossible-to-pay numbers on it.
As I thought about who God was and what he was capable of doing, anxiety disappeared and I experienced total calm.
Shalom to beat all shalom’s.
Wait, I whispered to the Lord. Are you kidding me? Can I really just believe Psalm 23:1 and be in peace all the time? If I had discovered a box filled with stacks of cash in the chair next to me, I couldn’t have felt richer in the moment. Arriving at peace while being handed a painful carpet estimate was incredible.
Do you know why we don’t grab onto because Psalm 23:1? Because it seems too good to be true. Can it really be this easy? Just believing that because the LORD is my shepherd means I am never going to lack what I need? Can it be true that the Shepherd really cares about me this much? The answer is yes. He really does care, he always can help, and I really do just have to believe.
I’m now carrying around Psalm 23:1 as a personal treasure. It’s my secret to feeling loved and being calm and saying goodbye to anxiety. I pray that all of you will dare memorize and believe this verse, too. Imagine how peaceful we could be.
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