I've always wondered why Mercy and Goodness "Follow" rather than "Lead?"
When David wrote Psalms 23 he had been fleeing from Saul. His life was continually being threatened. He was remembering past experiences and this produced in him a present HOPE.
It reminded me of Romans..."...but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character(ie experience), hope."
I think we would rather be "LED" by Mercy and Goodness, because these are the two attributes of our Father that are enjoyable to receive, but more difficult to give.
But I'm seeing that goodness and mercy are best understood in what we have received, in order to enable us to give to others. This might be why they follow from behind.
As we remember how much mercy we have received, we are able to understand how much mercy we must give.
We all WANT mercy and goodness,
but have we understood their value?
Our painful experiences will
"break us in" to an understanding,
that gives deeper meaning,
to our current pain or struggle.
Like the treasure in Mary's box that was released by being broken, so that it filled the air with beautiful fragrance...so Mercy and Goodness follows our own brokenness.
Not always OUT of our troubles,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN–deeper IN–to our one sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
–Annie Johnson Flint
“Every year, I might almost say every day, that I live, I seem to see more clearly how all the rest and gladness and power of our Christian life hinges on one thing; and that is, taking God at His word, believing that He really means exactly what He says, and accepting the very words in which He reveals His goodness and grace, without substituting others or altering the precise modes and tenses which He has seen fit to use.” – Frances Havergal
“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.” ~Elizabeth Elliot