The third thing to avoid is despair.
Psalm 23:3 – “He restores my soul.”
This phrase literally reads, “He causes my vigor to return.” It means to restore vitality or strength; to renew, to invigorate. David is speaking of healing and restoration.
David knew what it was like to be discouraged, to taste defeat, to be disliked by someone, to be rejected, to fall under the temptation to sin, to have family difficulties and marital issues, to feel hopeless and weak. We’re going to have seasons when we are bruised, sick, and weary sheep. And we need God to restore our vitality and strength.
David Wilkerson, in his book, Knowing God by Name, writes about the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. He writes:
“Many sheep are sick, diseased, weary – and they know it. They are mud-stained, wounded, bleeding, and hurting. They are in such bad shape that the Shepherd Himself has to recover them. After He carries them back He instructs them to lie down, and they comply happily… Whenever we are sick and hurting, bruised and wounded, our Shepherd Jesus carries us to a place where we can be healed… Sometimes, however, it is not easy for our Shepherd to make us ‘lie down.’ Often our flesh resists. We do not want to submit wholly to the Lord and be utterly dependent on His mercy and love. Instead we tell ourselves that we have to tough it out, to sweat out our own failings and weaknesses. Rather than turning to Him… we limp off to some secluded place to lick our wounds and try to recover on our own… Yahweh Rohi knows every pain we endure, every tear we shed and every hurt we feel. He knows when we are too weary to go another stop. He knows just how much we can take. Most of all, He knows how to rescue us and bring us to a place of healing.”
How do we avoid despair? Cry out to the Shepherd. Tell Him honestly what you’re feeling. Ask Him to restore you and heal you from wounds and weariness.
For deeper study on Yahweh Rohi and other names of God, check out the Bible study The Cry of My Heart: To Know God More Intimately Through His Names.