I Shall Not Want

When I was around eight I memorized the 23rd Psalm. This was an assignment given by my Sunday school teacher. Memorization was easy for my young, fresh mind and I had it down in no time. There was just one problem. The Psalm didn’t mean anything to me. How did those words apply practically to my life as an eight-year-old?

Sheep? Mine enemies? He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake? Thou anointest my head with oil? No one explained these truths in words that helped me understand a loving God. Adults simply assumed it was self-explanatory. They were wrong.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” especially troubled me. I distinctly remember having the following conversation with myself…”But I WANT a lot of things, so that must mean the Lord is not MY shepherd! Oh, no! And why is the Lord called my Shepherd? I’m not a sheep. And what does He do with that rod?”

At this point you’re either saying, “My goodness, what a deep thinker for an eight-year-old,” or more likely…“She certainly wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree.”

Now as an adult, one of my passions is writing retold Bible for children, ages 4 to 8. I think you can figure out why that is (o; God’s truths CAN be comprehended by little ones if written in words that children understand. I want children to relate Gods words to his or her own experience.

In my first book, Psalms for a Child’s Heart, I paraphrased Psalm 23 this way:

Dear Lord, You take good care of me,
the way a kind shepherd cares for his sheep.
You give me the things You know I need,
and always do what’s best for me.

You give me a warm bed to sleep in,
and watch me through the night.
If I were Your lamb, You would find the softest grass for me to lie in.
I could sleep all night and not be afraid, for You would watch over me.

When I am hungry, You give me wonderful food to eat.
If I were Your lamb, You would lead me to the greenest pastures.
You give me water when I am thirsty.
If I were Your lamb, You would take me to a clear, cool stream.

Lord, knowing You makes me feel good and safe inside.
I love to do what pleases You.
If I am in a scary place,
or all alone,
or in the dark,
I know that You are with me.
Lord, You are right next to me.
It is like You are holding my hand.
I don’t need to be afraid at all.

If I were Your frightened lamb,
You would pick me up and hold me tight.
You would carry me to a safe place.

When others are unkind to me,
and it seems as though I don’t have a friend,
I know that YOU love me. Lord Your kindness to me will never end.

Every morning when I wake up, You are there, Lord.
You will spend the day with me.
And You will be there even when I sleep at night.
There will never be a moment when You will not be with me!

Lord, I belong to You,
just as the little lamb in the shepherd’s arms.
Someday I will live with You in Heaven,
and it will be our home together…always.
I love You, Lord!


“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus Luke 18: 16a (ICB)

Sheryl Crawford, c 2008


3 responses to “I Shall Not Want

  1. Kid-friendly, easy to understand and beautifully written. Thanks for sharing with us, Sherri!


  2. This is really beautiful Sherri. So touching and insightful. Marge

  3. Sherri,

    This is a beautiful working of the Psalm. No wonder the editors liked it! So glad it led to success.


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