Psalm 23

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow…”

This chapter was the first I ever memorized once I could read on my own.  So many vacation Bible schools before when the memory work would be read to me so I recite it–and this was the first I read by myself.  Over and over, trying to earn the quarter promised if I could say the whole thing at once, but more, proud that I could read it on my own.

And in that five-year-old mind, all I could understand was that “surely goodness” was a specific type of goodness.  Like the blue sky or green grass, surely was a specific kind of goodness.  I didn’t understand what kind it was–and I remember asking.  But how does a child ask about adjectives that aren’t actually adjectives when she has never heard the word “adjective” before?

It would be an embarrassing number of years later before I would slow down enough to realize that surely is not an adjective–surely is a promise.

God promises that goodness and mercy will follow.
He commits to it.
He promises His provision in mighty ways.

And later still, co-directing vacation Bible school as a full-on adult, I shared my misunderstanding with my co-director.  So we read every scripture and explained them all to the kids–taking mere words and bringing them to life, that no other child may miss what God intends to be a promise.

Image by Christine Morgan

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