"Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Psalm 23:6
Goodness and Mercy. Not just goodness alone, for we all are flawed and in need of mercy. Not just mercy alone, for we all are fragile and inadequate, in need of God's goodness. So He guarantees both. And if that does not impress you, try this phrase: "all the days of my life". Think of the days that lie ahead of you: tough days raising children, days in a dead-end job, underpaid and financially strapped, days of loneliness, days of ill health, days of care giving. Listen: "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." All of them!
And what will the Shepherd do during those days? He will follow you. What a surprising way to describe God. We are accustomed to a God who remains in one place; who sits enthroned in the heavens and rules. But no, like a Shepherd who comes behind, gently coaxing His sheep forward, our Lord follows us. Pursues us. Tracks us down and wins us over. Have you sensed Him pursuing you? So often we miss Him; we do not know our Helper when He is near. Yet He is always there; through the kindness of a stranger; through the question of a child or the commitment of loved one; through a word of encouragement spoken or a touch well timed we sense His presence. Even when we choose our hovel over His house and our efforts over His grace, still He follows. Never forcing us. Never leaving us. Using all His power to convince us that He is who He is, and that He can be trusted to lead us home. What more could we ask for?