Harold Kushner writes in When Bad Things Happen to Good People how this psalm has the power to comfort the grieving and to calm the fearful:
- If we are anxious, it gives us courage to overcome our fears.
- If we are grieving, it offers comfort and we find our way through the valley of the shadow.
- If our lives are embittered by unpleasant people, it teaches us how to deal with them.
- If the world threatens to wear us down, the psalm guides us to replenish our souls.
- If we are obsessed with what we lack, it teaches us gratitude for what we have.
- If we feel alone and adrift in a friendless world, it offers us the priceless reassurance that “Thou art with me.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in straight paths for His Name’s sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”