“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
I was thinking of this verse while Angi and I were in the woods with our new hiking sticks. The rod and staff are a comfort because they’re for support, balance, and protection, not punishment. You’d think that was obvious, but it took me too long to understand God isn’t waiting with a stick to hit me when I fail.
The staff in Psalm 23 is a weapon against the enemy, a tool for rescuing, and a symbol of care and guidance your heart and mind can rest under.
“Rod” is the word for “scepter,” a symbol of royal authority. It’s also interpreted other places in the Bible as “tribe,” as in family. It means you belong here, you have authority to thrive, and you’re empowered to demonstrate the reality of his kingdom. Even in the darkest valley, you’re an ambassador of his love, grace, and power, a power that can heal your family, and drive out the enemy.
Never doubt Jesus is walking with you. Even through the most difficult parts of your journey, he is loving, comforting, protecting, healing, and restoring. He is leading you out of this wilderness, and providing all you need along the way.