"You anoint my head with oil." Psalm 23:5
It’s often the small things that are my undoing. I know to gather my strength and to pray for life’s large challenges but what about the petty annoyances that come every day, every hour and even every minute?
In our research for The Shepherd’s Song, we learned about the anointing of the sheep from a book by Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. The shepherd would anoint the sheep’s head with oil for protection against annoying and dangerous gnats and flies.
"Only the strictest attention to the behavior of the sheep can forestall the difficulties of 'fly time'. At the very first sign of flies among the flock he will apply an antidote to their heads. I always preferred to use a homemade remedy composed of linseed oil sulfur, and tar, which was smeared over the sheep’s nose and head as a protection against nose flies."
Oh, those pesky nose flies! What are they in your life? One more phone call? The hole in the new sweater? Milk is out? Cut off in traffic? The little things can grate on us and pull down our mood. We need the Shepherd’s protection.
"Once the oil had been applied to the sheep’s head, there was an immediate change in behavior. Gone was the aggravation, gone the frenzy, gone the irritability, and the restlessness."
How can we position ourselves for that anointing of oil that brings peace and releases the “aggravation, frenzy, irritability and restlessness”? Just a moment in the Word can change our mindset to focus on the important things in life, loving my family, serving others, sharing Christ.
Look at a scripture message pasted on the fridge: Be anxious about nothing…
Carry a card with God’s Word in your wallet: Come to Me all who are weary…
Post a scripture message on your mirror: For God so loved the world…
The daily anointing of God’s Word protects us from the small things that can pull us off track.
Keller adds a prayer that he prays when he encounters irritations:
“O Lord, I can’t cope with these petty, annoying, peevish problems. Please apply the oil of your Spirit to my mind. Both at the conscious and subconscious levels of my thought life enable me to act and react just as you would.”
We need that! How do you deal with life’s small irritations?
The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is The Shepherd’s Song, Howard Books, March 2014.
Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.”
Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.
With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.