In Psalm 23, David clearly notes that the perfect shepherd, our Lord, never leaves his sheep wanting. “I shall not want,” he said very early in this Psalm. Then, why do we in fact often want? Why aren’t we satisfied? Frederick Buechner takes a stab at the reason, below. We should carefully consider his pondering.
Meditation by Frederick Buechner on Psalm 23
“I SHALL NOT WANT,” the psalm says. Is that true? There are lots of things we go on wanting, go on lacking, whether we believe in God or not. They are not just material things like a new roof or a better paying job, but things like good health, things like happiness for our children, things like being understood and appreciated, like relief from pain, like some measure of inner peace not just for ourselves but for the people we love and for whom we pray. Believers and unbelievers alike we go on wanting plenty our whole lives through. We long for what never seems to come. We pray for what never seems to be clearly given. But when the psalm says “I shall not want,” maybe it is speaking the utter truth anyhow. Maybe it means that if we keep our eyes open, if we keep our hearts and lives open, we will at least never be in want of the one thing we want more than anything else. Maybe it means that whatever else is withheld, the shepherd never withholds himself, and he is what we want more than anything else.