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  • Laura MacNeil Smith

4a.m. Woes & Worries

It's early in the morning and I can't sleep. My thoughts woke me up around 4, and I couldn't get back to bed after that. It's just the shadow of the palm trees, the bright starry sky, the occasional crow of a rooster and me. In the quiet and the stillness, the problems that worried me yesterday don't feel so bad anymore. His mercies truly are new everyday.

I lay in the hammock on our porch and think about Psalm 23. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...."

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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 overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

It's easy to get caught in the "wanting" in life. To feel the weight of not enough-ness. Especially overseas, where everyday is living in the balance of very limited resources and a long list of needs.

There isn't an endless supply.

When we see gas at the gas station, we need to fill up because you don't know when the next time they're going to pump is.

When the power runs out, it is finished for the day because the generator runs on gas (and thus refer to the difficulties of the situation above).

And the needs are plenty, always.

One of our scholarship students, who got accepted into university in France (WOW!), but carries the financial burden of trying to make that dream come true.

The senior citizens that live up the mountain who wonder if there is room for them in the Food Kit program.

The young people who are already want to know if we are taking applicants for the school scholarships next year.

The end of the month finances that get tighter as prices rise and rise.

There are times I find myself living out of want and scarcity, grasping for anything that can change my circumstantial problems, or at least makes me feel better about them. Life overseas can feel like a pressure cooker--it brings out the best in you and the worst in you really quickly.

There are days I feel so limited. So not enough. When I can't instantly solve or fix or make life better for the people I love. I'm sure I'm not the only one who ever feels like this. Life can beat you up pretty fast if you continue to live in that place.

I take comfort with the fact that none of this stops and starts with me. Thank goodness I don't have to be anyone's Savior! But I know the guy who is. In all the ways I might not be enough, in all the ways I fall short, I serve a limitless God who isn't tied down by my problems. The One who doesn't leave us in want because we can find what we truly need through Him. Who walks with us through the shadows of the valley of death.

As we talked through these verses a few weeks ago at Bible Study, one of the young men explained it like this--it's not that we won't walk through hard things in life, that the difficulties and physical challenges of life won't be there, but that God our father gives us unlimited access to the most important things in life that can carry us through any set of circumstances--the joy, the love, the peace--that is only available through Him.

These are the keys to the kingdom that we hold, and it's up to us to start living like it. Not just to have it, but to have it in abundance.

There is a sweetness to living in utter dependence on God. This is the never-ending lesson I've been learning the past few years: What it looks like to have the Lord as our shepherd not just in a poetic Old Testament sense, but in the literal meaning of the word. To live everyday under His provision + His protection. It isn't always easy, but it is always always worth it.


May Jehovah Jireh forever be the song on our hearts as we continue to walk with the Shepherd.

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