The Shepherd Leads: Psalm 23: 1 – 4

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

One Minister I knew used to guard this Psalm very jealously, and when asked for it to be read or sung at a funeral he would think long and hard before agreeing, if he did agree that is. Privately, he told me he thought it such a precious psalm it was not for everyone. A stance I took great exception to.
The Psalmist talks of the Good Shepherd, but even a poor shepherd does not give different rations to his charges on how well they are performing, indeed it is likely the weaker ones in the flock will be given extra to bring them up to the standard of the others.
Here we can acknowledge that we shall succeed because God is our shepherd, and note the Psalmist does not equivocate about it.  The Lord IS, he states; not the Lord might be, not If the Lord is, but simply and bluntly The Lord is.
And because He is, we can be sure to be led through the valleys where danger lurks, along the paths of safety to where the sweet wells and good pastures are.
At this time, where we face fear and uncertainty, we can be sure that God walks with us, protecting us as much as he can until we come to the land of safety.

Lord God our loving Father in Heaven
Guide us through the encircling gloom, when we are unsure of where to go may your hand guide us, when we cower in the dark afraid to move call us to come to you.
In your Mercy hear our prayer