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A Reflection on Psalm 23 by Scott Spain-Smith

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Reflections on Psalm 23

By Scott Spain-Smith

How fitting that the Lectionary led us to Psalm 23 this past Sunday. These are some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture, and they are presented to us in a time of extreme uncertainty. I wanted to share with you all an experience of mine with this passage.

A couple of years ago Tiffani set out a challenge in the children’s sermon: any child who could come back to church in the following weeks and recite Psalm 23 would get an award. Zoe, five-years-old at the time, was all about it. She worked hard on it that week, and the next Sunday, she quoted the Psalm to Tiffani and received her reward (I think it was some stickers).

The Psalm, though, quickly became part of our bedtime routine with Zoe. She or Candace would say it every night while tucking her in.

Fast forward a couple of months, and Zoe had a mole on her back that the doctors decided needed to be removed out of an abundance of caution.  As testing later confirmed, it was nothing to have been worried about. Still, minor surgery for a five-year-old can be quite scary, and Zoe was scared. I was scared, too. However, Zoe was more brave than afraid. Since the mole to be removed was on her back she was able to lay on my chest while the doctor numbed the spot and then cut it out. While he removed the mole, Zoe recited Psalm 23 to help her stay calm. She said it perfectly, and she wants you to know that she didn’t even flinch while the doctor cut into her back.

I close my eyes and hear those words spoken with the innocent tone of a five-year-old voice, and I can feel her hugging me tight as I hug her back.  I need the feeling of that hug today. Many of you know that I run an ice cream shop across the street from Baylor, Heritage Creamery (I don’t own it, but I am the general manager there).  Winter is always a hard time for any ice cream shop Add on highway construction to winter and you get an especially hard time.  Right now, just as we are emerging from winter and moving into ice cream sales season, we’ve lost all of our tourism traffic and Baylor students have essentially been evacuated. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we are working harder than ever to make it through this challenge.

The words of Psalm 23 calmed Zoe on the day of her surgery. Those same words soothed the anxious fears of a father, and today, those sacred words of hope are what I am cling to.

“He restores my soul”