Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yahweh Roi

I'm re-reading this marvelous book by Ann Spangler called 'Praying the Names of God'. It is a marvelous book, an almost daily devotion as it goes through the different names of God, revealing all of the meanings with coinciding bible verses.
This week I am on, Yahweh Roi (pronounced, raw-E) and it means, 'the Lord is my Shepherd'.
Which of course brings us to the fabulous and famous Psalm 23.
I, like many other people I'm sure, always thought that Psalm 23 was what was read to you by a priest when you were walking out of your jail cell into death. Because that line, 'I shall fear no evil' is always fully pronounced. 
Of course upon studying it, you will realize that it's about how we, God's children, are a bunch of stupid, useless sheep, who can't take care of ourselves, and God is our glorious Shepherd.

But one line I always trip on, the one line that always makes me pause is the first line.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want."
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be IN want."

Do you see that? Do you see the difference between saying, 'I shall not want' and 'I shall not be IN want'?
Such a slight shift, isn't it?

I can't scuba dive.
I want to.
The ocean is absolutely fascinating for me and I love reading books on different fish, on wave currents, on discovering new ships that sank so long ago.
But I can't equalize.
And that, breaks my heart.

I want to live on a 1,000 acre land. I want to have my own farm, tend my own food, just ... live off the land and just ... be.
Do you know how much even 1 acre of land is?
Goodness, we can't afford it. And yeah, maybe we could if I got a full-time job and we scrimped and saved and were misers with our money.
But that's not who we are. We'd rather have me home, have us spend all of our time together and just ... love each other in our teeny tiny family.

I want to explore the Amazon. I want to climb Everest. I want to ride a camel through the dry deserts. I want to rock climb the Grand Canyon.
But I can't.

'The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be IN want'.

People have a bucket list. It's a common thing.
I don't.
Because I shall not be IN want.

Don't I sound fabulously pious now? Don't you want to pummel me? Of course you do.
But something occured to me a long time ago.

My son Jackson tells me he would love to visit outer-space. But he knows it's not possible.  But he also knows that our Lord and Saviour, our great and glorious God, will be creating a new earth. A NEW EARTH. And it shall be even more glorious than the one we are on now.
So I take great joy in telling my beautiful child that we will visit outer-space. That he and I will walk hand-in-hand into the ocean and explore the very very bottom to see what's there and we won't have to hold our breath. That we can climb the vast amazon jungle trees and pick up poisonous frogs and we won't be hurt. That we can live on a 1,000 acre sunflower farm with fresh air and drinkable river water and bugs that don't bite and bright red cardinals that will land on your shoulder and that our dog will tell us the crazy things she chases.
This is so temporary, my friends. So very quick. And then gone.

So I may have to live in a tiny home where the roof leaks and the floor squeaks and my colds last too darn long. And I may have to just read about travel adventures and wait anxiously for a new version of 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea to be made into a movie.  And I may only be able to imagine what a desert smells like after it has rained.

That's ok.

I shall not be IN want.
Because my Yahweh Roi will give me exactly what I need. Exactly what He wants me to have. Exactly what we can handle.
And I shall look forward to the most marvelous life that will begin any day now (but hopefully not for another 60 years and maybe before my husband dies because I honestly don't think I could live without him?)

What are you looking forward to in the Forever?

Jenn Kelly is an author. A silly one. Who likes to wear false teeth to make people laugh on canoe trips because paddling for four hours straight is exhausting. She is currently waiting for her editor to edit her book so she can finally try finding a lovely agent who will send her encouraging notes, gift cards for tea and sparkly nail polish. That's what they do, right? You can find her at, but honestly, she hasn't been there in awhile..


  1. Hi Jenn,
    As an old English teacher "shall not want" has always meant "not be in want" but as the language evolves, I think it's very worthwhile to make the language of scripture resonate with the current generation. Thanks for articulating so clearly the difference between want (desire) and want (be without)

  2. I learned this psalm as a child and to my child mind it created great confusion as it semed to be saying the lord is my shepherd who I don't want, so 'in want' would have helped me out back then immensely. Funny how as a child we can get simple things wrong.