The Shepherd’s Table Psalm 23:5
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies….”
I can still recall the shape and scent of that tiny room filled with machines. My memory will not release the sounds of his aching body, restless and confined, in that dimly lit room overlooking the rooftop of an aging hospital. If I let the moment linger too long, I can feel a knot in the pit of my stomach taking shape as I replay the blur of months and years of living raw and broken watching my husband suffer through an extended illness. But just as that knot tries to form, truth floods in, and I remember. I remember the invitation to holy surrender and utter respite in the presence of my Savior. I recall what He gave me, how He sustained me, and how He invited me to a table unlike any I had ever known where I encountered the stunning sacred in the depths of a sea of suffering. Precisely where everything was threatening to undo me entirely, my Savior invited me to sit with Him and taste of the goodness of God.
It seems incompatible, this unimaginable security and depth of joy being served while nothing in the world around us offers any comfort or safety. It feels like the stuff out of fairy tales to believe that the Shepherd can pause a whirling, chaotic world and usher us into quiet grace. But this way of living is not a fairy tale—it is the life of promise from a suffering Savior calling us to understand His way beyond the ways of a broken world. It is rising above the rubble heaps to see a Redeemer making all things new—working and willing for our good.
The Shepherd offers us the gift of presence for an abandoned heart. In the center of a dented world bent towards destruction, He pushes back the chaos and invites us to sit, be known, and be loved. Right where we are, He provides—this is a table of His presence overcoming the enemy threatening ruin. He offers Himself. We bring nothing. He asks us only to sit, come, and dine.
Over the years, I have come to this table many times. Sometimes, I’m weeping and aching, and other times, I’m trembling or angry. No matter what leads me to the Shepherd’s table, it is always prepared. I never walk away in the same shape I arrived. He never leaves me undone. He always meets me there and makes a way for my weakened heart. I may walk right back into battle, but the Shepherd’s table is the respite in the wasteland serving precisely what my soul needs to navigate the terrain.
A table in the presence of my enemies is a promise of God’s best for His broken sheep. It is the gift of His presence greater than our fears. Right there in that dark hospital room, I found the Shepherd’s table truly for the first time. I didn’t move beyond those walls; yet even there, He saw me and fed me. He restored my soul. He gave me peace and grace where none existed—His presence, my present. I’ve never been the same since those sacred encounters—forever altered and made better from every moment with the Shepherd.
This I know with certainty: the Shepherd’s table always stands ready for His beloved. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.