“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.”
Psalms 23:4 ESV
Recently I was meditating on Psalm 23:4. I have read this verse a thousand times but last Sunday morning while eating an apple fritter, it became life to me.
I was driving to church when the words of that verse were repeating in my head, especially the part, “His rod and staff, they comfort me.” I have always thought if a shepherd had a rod and staff, he would use it on his sheep to keep them in line. At that moment I couldn’t help but think if God were physically speaking to me in my vehicle, He might be using His rod and staff, saying, “Amy, put down the fritter!” That made me laugh and then I had to look up the reason why a shepherd uses his rod and staff on google, after I parked my car, of course.
To my surprise it was used in a different way other than disciplining the sheep. The shepherd actually uses his rod and staff to fight off wild animals that might bring danger to his sheep. Wow! That is why the rod and staff comfort. We can have ease of pain and distress because we know that God is fighting for us, our sweet and dear Shepherd. He is comforting us with His protection even if we feel the shadows and oppression of death, even if we are walking in slow motion through the valleys, even if we fear the evil around us. Friends, our God, our Shepherd is greater! Our God, our Shepherd is working on our behalf, our God, our Shepherd is always watching because we are His sheep and He cares greatly for us. What a Savior!
My mom had eight years of excruciating pain before she passed away. We watched her suffer through those years, my dad mainly. My mom would take comfort in this verse, actually the whole chapter of Psalm 23. Her faith was incredibly strong and what an honor to see it in action. The joy of the Lord was truly her strength as she took comfort in her Shepherd who fought her battles
May we never miss this understanding when our time comes to face enormous uncertainty and pain of many shadows. My prayer is that my faith will be grounded in the assurance and understanding that My God Is Greater, just like my mom had.
From a grateful guest,
A traveler just passing through...