Dealing with stress fractured spirit
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Psalm 23:1-4
In an article written in Sports Illustrated a vivid picture was painted regarding stress fracture. "Stress fractures are insidious because they occur over time. They sneak up on an athlete and may, if he keeps playing, develop into full-fledged, clear-through-the-bone fractures. A stress fracture begins when the shocks and strains of playing game after game create microscopic cracks in the outer layers of bone—usually in the legs and feet. If the pounding continues and those tiny crevices, which often go undetected, aren't allowed to heal, they can enlarge. When the cracks become large enough to cause pain, they are stress fractures." Stress fractures are not limited to sports athletes. Though microscopic cracks in bones are painful, but they cannot match the hurt of a stress fractured spirit. That's a pain like none other for it is deep, it pulsates, and it can linger for days. From the text, David was expressing the joy of knowing God as his Shepherd. Though he walks “through the darkest valley” he knows he is not alone. As he reflected on that care, he realized that it was very much like the care of a shepherd for his sheep (vv. 1–4) and the care of a host for his guests (vv. 5–6). David was very familiar with both. Much of his time during his childhood years was occupied with the care of his father’s sheep. Then when he became the king, one of his duties was hosting guests. In this psalm, David is not the shepherd but the sheep and not the host but the guest, and it is none other than the Lord God himself who is doing the shepherding and the hosting. How often we stroll across the Scriptures without truly pondering what we are reading and without receiving the blessing such contemplation brings! Think about the Lord caring for his people as a shepherd and host. What a privilege! And it is this sense of privilege that permeates and governs this psalm. It speaks throughout of what God does for his people. Having purchased his sheep on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ now lovingly tends them along the lines described in this psalm. When we are about to experience stress-fractured spirit because we walk in a wearying and exhausting world, what we need is spiritual refreshment from our Shepherd. Do not let the pain deepen because of the beating and the pounding of your stress-fractured spirit instead turn it over to God and let Him handle your cares.
Noel De Guzman