The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NKJV)
This passage of Scripture has become very special to me through the course of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. These are my “go to” verses when fatigue and pain overwhelm me. I find great comfort and peace in the words of this well-known Psalm.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I have suffered from panic attacks. I have been medicated in the past for them, but I am at a point in life where they are less severe and almost rare. Occasionally though, they will invade my body and they most often come in the middle of the night waking me out of sleep. Again, I will mention that my “panic attacks” have nothing to do with panic. I wish they were labeled something different. I realize that for some people panic attacks are born from overwhelming anxiety, but I think for one with CFS it is a malfunction of systems in our bodies that are already completely messed up. I sense that during my flare ups some kind of chemical reaction happens in my body and BOOM, here comes a panic attack. Shaking, chills, teeth chattering, racing heart, hyperventilation, profound nausea, dizzy, light-headed. Almost as if my body can’t handle the pain and fatigue and it rebels against itself. They most often come during a flare up or when I’ve pushed myself too far or sometimes for no reason at all. I’ve experienced them enough that I know what to do and how to handle those moments, but they are still scary and awful and I hate them. Mine typically last about 20 minutes. And the only way I can keep my mind calm in the midst of them is to meditate on Scripture, most often Psalm 23.
I have chosen this passage because it brings me genuine comfort. I literally have quoted this Psalm thousands of times in my head over the last 15+ years. It is full of so many visually expressive, peaceful, calming, comforting truths.
Lie down – green pastures – He leads me – still waters – restores my soul – paths of righteousness – His name’s sake – fear no evil – You are with me – comfort me – anoint my head – my cup runs over – goodness and mercy – all the days of my life – dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER.
Resting in the Lord’s goodness and mercy that will follow me ALL the days of my life. I mean, what can be better than that? I just love how soothing and poetic the words run together. I love how it pictures my Saviour right beside me – leading me, comforting me, walking with me, blessing me. The visual images that accompany my meditation are so vivid yet, peaceful. They are calming, soothing, and appropriately distracting from the current physical suffering. My focus is turned toward the loving Shepherd who cares for me and away for the chaos in my body. No matter the circumstances, whether in the middle of a panic attack or celebrating a pain free day, Psalm 23 speaks volumes to me.
How about you? Do you have a special passage of Scripture that comforts you during the dark times? Please share in the comments.
Look for Psalm 23 – Part 2 in an upcoming blog.