Mark This Down – some thoughts from Pastor Mark (Appt. with a Ventilator)

Appointment with a Ventilator
Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I hope you will bear with me. I just can’t do a modern version with that psalm. What can I say, I’m old. (Velma would disagree.)
I remember once visiting a lady before her surgery. I pulled out my New Testament and Psalms and asked if I could read some Scripture. Her eyes got big, and she said fearfully, “Not the 23rd Psalm!” So I read another. I suppose she had watched old war movies where the chaplain read the 23rd over the dying solider and it created bad associations in her mind. Oh well, the psalm I read her was a good one too.
I think perhaps this psalm may be so familiar that it creates no associations at all. The beautiful words flow, and we know it so well that it doesn’t grab onto our thoughts. We may think, “That’s nice.” Maybe even, “That’s beautiful.” But not, “Wow! That’s so true!”
Picture a coffee mug with a nice rural scene on it with trees and grass and a flowing stream, maybe a sheep lying by the stream, with the words, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Somebody sees the mug and says, “I want a mug like that.” Before you know it, everybody’s got one. Somehow, I don’t think there would be great spiritual impact in the churches.
I’ll tell you one sure thing. Not many will have a coffee mug with a dark, scary valley on it. But the dark scary valley, the place where no sheep in its right mind would choose to go, is perhaps the main point of the psalm.
Why is the sheep there? Because the Shepherd led it there! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. The sheep looks at the Shepherd and moves a little closer. It sees the weapons the Shepherds carries and heaves a sigh of relief. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
There are places we do not want to go. We say (perhaps only in the fearful back of our minds), “Not that, Lord!” And we don’t think through the fact that He leads us everywhere we go. And He has a good reason for every place He chooses to lead us. We need to think this through, if we are to get to, I will fear no evil.
There is a lot of talk of ventilators in the news. People want them on hand, but nobody wants to be on one. I have a fear of ventilators. It goes back to another hospital visit. I was visiting an elderly lady in the last hours of her life. She was on a ventilator and was struggling with having that thing down her throat. I went home thinking, “I never want that to happen to me.”
Famous last words! Six years ago, I was in the hospital struggling to breathe. Karen and the doctor told me we had to do this, I needed to be intubated. I was so tired; I just nodded my head in surrender. The next thing I knew. I woke up with my daughter sitting beside me. It was three days later. I was through the dark, scary valley.
Karen tells me that I struggled like Aunt Ella did, but I have no memory of that. It was like the Lord put a nice warm blanket around me and woke me in the morning. And the morning will come! That doesn’t mean Christians will escape the hospital or the ventilator—or even the funeral home.
It DOES mean that when the Lord brings us through the valley that He in His loving wisdom chose to lead us through, we will be home, and our loved ones will greet us.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Think about it!
Just a brother, Pastor Mark

4 Responses to “Mark This Down – some thoughts from Pastor Mark (Appt. with a Ventilator)”

  1. Diann Helzerman says:

    I am enjoying your posts, Pastor Mark. This reminds me that our oldest granddaughter, Rachel who is in 2nd grade at Livingston Christian chose this chapter for her Speech Meet. While the meet most likely will not take place, she nevertheless has hidden those verses in her heart.

  2. Timothy chaffee says:

    Very well put
    Thank you for your input on this matter
    I pray that this will be over before Easter Sunday and all the churches are pack full with no place to sit

  3. Keri payne says:

    Thanks mark, so needed the visual picture of our Shepard guarding us through our dark valley! It brought me some great needed peace today!

  4. Mark Jones says:

    Thank you for your encouraging comments. I pray our Lord will bless, guide and protect you as we seek His glory.

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