Psalm 23:4 “Yea, 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.”
What do you use to comfort yourself when you are in pain? I know it depends on what kind of pain, for physical pain we use Tylenol or Advil for headaches, Ibuprofen for swelling, and Day and NyQuil for coughs and colds. But for pain that is felt but not seen like depression, loneliness, boredom, discouragement or disappointment fatigue, what do you use to comfort yourself with that pain? Some people use pornography, food, sex, drugs or gambling, while others call a friend, pray, speak to a pastor, lean on a spouse or seek out a professional counselor. As people we were not created to be able to enjoy pain, it is a feeling we seek to alleviate as soon as possible, but many times we alleviate our pain with something that will cause us more pain if we are not strategic in our choice of pain relief.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble…” Pain is promised, but how you choose to alleviate that pain, is up to you. So what comforts you? When you are walking through what feels like the valley of the shadow of death, what do you turn to for comfort? I can tell you most people turn to pleasure, not to what the Lord invites us to turn to, because when we are in pain, we want immediate relief, we are not looking for long term life. But the Lord, is a master teacher and He knows that pain is only an indicator of a deeper issue, so He offers the most quoted Psalm of comfort to show us His remedy for our pain, and what prescription He would provide to comfort us.
Psalm 23 says, that the Lord comforts us with His rod and His staff. The rod of God in scripture refers to His correction or His discipline. Proverbs 22:15 says if we spare the rod we ruin the child and it is speaking of the need for discipline or correction. Lord knows a spoiled child is a challenged child. We were created to be corrected, that is why the Lord comforts us with correction. But He also comforts us with His staff. The staff of God according to I Samuel 17:7 is like a weaver’s beam, it was a form of protection. So, the Lord comforts us with His correction and His protection.
The reason we do not need to fear ANY evil, is because any places we are off course the Lord will correct us and any challenges we encounter He will protect us. So, next time you are in pain and it feels like a long, lonely walk through the valley of the shadow of death, why not ask for the rod of correction and the staff of protection to comfort you? It will alleviate the pain not just temporarily, but permanently for He is a good good Father!