"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Psalm 23 husband

I wondered if it was just going to be yet another sermon on Psalm 23. Beautiful words—a shepherd-God—rest in the Lord—now you’re dismissed. But it was different this time.

Over and over, my pastor stressed the absolute delight in being owned by the Lord and having another shepherd your life. I know this troubles some, but it doesn’t trouble me. I don’t know why. Perhaps because I am a woman, or because of my personality, or because my father has modeled such compassionate shepherding so well. But no matter what it is, I agree: being shepherded, being owned, can be a beautiful thing—if it is done through the Good Shepherd.

And here, in the sermon, my mind began to wander. I looked down at the words on the page and thought about the other place in my life where I, someday, may come under the “ownership” of another: in marriage. I know people will recoil at those words, but I will say it anyway.


And loved. Because I know my husband will seek to own me and shepherd me through the authority of Jesus Christ. Through being owned by him, I would be being owned by Him.

With that in mind, I looked again at Psalm 23. What if, instead, I read this psalm referring not just to my heavenly Lord but to my earthly lord—to my husband? We talk so often about a "Proverbs 31 woman"—but what if we also spoke of the "Psalm 23 husband"? And when I re-read the psalm with that in mind, I was taken aback. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. That, that exactly, is what I pray, if I ever get married, my husband will be like.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.