Your rod and staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:4
I notice today that many seem full of angst. I do not blame them, I feel it too. There is a deep rise of crying out to God these days. “Where are you! Why is this happening! This path was supposed to look like this for me! Why am I not seeing change within me! Why is my relationship with You so vacant and malnourished! Why is there so much chaos and change around me! God, do you still love me, have you forgotten me?!” These questions are not dismissed and are valuable to the Savior.
My one-year-old son loves books. As I was reading a book with him on my lap, he was entranced. He loved opening and closing the cover of the book. This thrill kept going for five minutes. His curiosity and excitement was consistent with this simple action. There was no denying he was present and in anticipation of “the new”. As he was captivated by this, I noticed the Holy Spirit speaking to me, “Are you in anticipation and expectation that I am doing something new, Bill? Do you have joy like your son, in childlike faith for “the new” I bring each day? Why are you scared of the new, Bill, when you have Me?” I was very convicted and awestruck. Here, on my lap, in this moment, God was teaching me and teaching me through my baby. I need Jesus, the same Jesus my one-year-old needs everyday, just the same. The new is scary, but with God, He comforts through promises of steadfast, faithful love with His Word making a way in the valley.
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
At my father’s house in the country, there is a little closet near the chimney, where we keep the canes, or walking sticks, of several generations of our family. During my visits to the old house, as my father and I are going out for a walk, we often go to the cane closet and pick out our sticks to suit the occasion. As we have done this, I have frequently been reminded that the Word of God is a staff.
During the war, when we were experiencing a time of discouragement and impending danger, the verse ‘He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord’ (Ps. 112:7) was a staff to walk with on many dark days.
When our child died and we were left nearly brokenhearted, I found another staff in the promise ‘Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning’ (Ps. 30:5). When I was forced to be away from home for a year due to poor health, not knowing if God would ever allow me to return to my home and work again, I chose this staff, which has never failed: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’ (Jer. 29:11).
In times of impending danger or doubt, when human judgement seems to be of no value, I have found it easy to go forward with this staff: ‘In quietness and trust is your strength’ (Isa. 30:15). And in emergencies, when there has been no time for deliberation or for action, this staff has never failed me: ‘He that believeth shall not make haste’ (Isa. 28:16 KJV). Abbott Benjamin Vaugh, in The Outlook
Martin Luther’s wife said, ‘I would never have known the meaning of various psalms, come to appreciate certain difficulties, or known the inner workings of the soul; I would never have understood the practice of the Christian life and work, if God had never brought afflictions to my life.’ It is quite true that God’s rod is like a schoolteacher’s pointer to a child, pointing out a letter so the child will notice it. In this same way, God points out many valuable lessons to us that we otherwise would never have learned. Selected
God always sends His staff with His rod.
Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as they days, so shall thy strength be. Deuteronomy 33:25 KJV
Each of us may be sure that if God sends us over rocky paths, He will provide us with sturdy shoes. He will never send us on any journey without equipping us as well. Alexander Maclaren”
“Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Coleman