Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
I wondered about taking a second day over this phrase. Certainly I’ve read it many times and its quite familiar but how often would I pause to ask just how the shepherd’s rod and staff can comfort me?
I’m assuming the meaning of “comfort” is something the same as “encourage”, or strengthen or spur on.
Without going into a serious bible study in this reflection (although you might pick that up as an idea), let us be reminded that in the culture of bible times a man would often carry a staff with him through his life. This staff would have a number of valuable and practical uses but it was much more than just a stick. It was a very personal item. Whenever the owner had a significant event in life or a significant encounter with God they might carve a mark for memorial of this into the staff. Thus over time, a man would find himself carrying everywhere with him a testimony and record of God’s love and faithfulness. Interesting then that Jacob as an old man was leaning on his staff as he blessed his twelve sons (see Hebrews 11:21).
So, I wonder if it is possible that when we walk through the valley of shadows that the Staff to comfort us could also be the testimony of God’s love and faithfulness. Suggestion…. When in the valleys, why not call these things to memory and speak them out in the face of discouragement?
God can, and desires to, restore life and joy to us.