The 23rd Psalm is a poignant account of one who experienced the goodness of God’s presence. It isn’t a fairy tale, it is the essence of his experience walking with God! He said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23:1-6) He clearly knew the goodness of God’s presence! When we experience God giving us peace, guidance, provision, love, wisdom and all we’ve failed to attain on our own, we know we’re lost without Him. So, when God’s presence get’s quiet, we stop and backtrack in order to identify and correct the sin which caused us to depart from the goodness of His presence. Jesus never sinned, but He chose to take our sin upon Himself so we could be reconciled to God. The Father turned His face away from Jesus when he took our sin, and that was the only recorded time during the crucifixion when Jesus cried out in pain. The horrendous torture that men had inflicted upon Him didn’t have as deep an effect as the pain our sin caused when it separated Him from His Father. He knew His Father’s goodness because He and His Father are so close that they are one. When we begin to know God, we know the goodness of His presence–just as the Psalmist describes. (Read it again.) His presence draws us in and we don’t want to choose anything that deprives us of Him. Our prayer is much like the Psalmist: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalms 63:1) The goodness of God is more excellent than our very life!