[Your rod and Your staff comfort me]
It’s no secret that I’ve really been struggling this Season. However, I haven’t been going through my valley alone. God has been with me every step of the way.
Each time I’ve been knocked down it’s felt increasingly more difficult to get back up. Because my focus often falls on how I’m feeling, I’ve been having difficulty seeing the truth through all of the lies. I was desperate for a turn around. I was afraid that I’d be consumed by this struggle.
That’s when I “stumbled upon” a verse that caught my attention. I also received some encouraging words from friends (More on that in this post.)
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:22-23
I had to stop and think about it. How are God’s mercies new every morning?
Time to take stock of who my Jesus is.
Mercy is definitely speaking to me. When I’m beside myself, Jesus is right there beside me. When I wake up and I’m grasping for straws, He throws me yet another lifeline. He shows me what I’ve been missing, and why I’ve been missing it. That’s mercy. If I was left to my own devices, I know that I’d sink beneath the waves.
He reminds me that I’m no different than anyone else.
The morning I began writing this piece I was searching for His mercies. I found one right away when I read a fellow blogger’s post titled “the sin of trust” You can find that post here.
I read through Kenn’s post twice. The first time I was focused on how open he was about his own struggles. I appreciate the honesty. If it weren’t for honesty I’d be convinced that I was the only one struggling. It’s people just like Kenn who’ve helped me to be more transparent and willing to share my own thoughts and feelings.
The Second time through I was trying to absorb everything. Then I began examining myself. (I can definitely over-analyze myself, so his post ended up being redirection for me.)
“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” –Luke 1:78-79
Time to get my eyes off the wind and the waves.
When Kenns focus is off, knowing that he belongs to God settles him down. I know that I belong to God too, so this begged the question, why isn’t this settling me down as well? Why wasn’t God’s rod and staff comforting me as it did King David? This forced me to ask even more questions.
The Metaphor of the Rod and Staff
King David’s 23rd Psalm starts off by saying this, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” (Or I shall not lack anything.)
To understand Psalm 23 we have to know where David was coming from. King David was born a humble shepherd boy, but he was destined to shepherd God’s people Israel. (Psalm 78:70-72 ) He understood the constant care and attention that went into the job of caring for a flock. From what I understand it wasn’t a small or easy task.
A shepherd’s rod and staff were used to guide his sheep and fend off predators. If a flock was startled, they would scatter, and the shepherd would have to gather them to him again. A good shepherd had a close bond with his sheep. To lead them they had to trust him and know his voice. He examined each sheep closely and tended to their every need.
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. 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.” –Psalm 23:4
Great is His Faithfulness.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. –Lamentations 3:23
When Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, it was a time of suffering and grief. Israel had fallen to Babylon, but even in his grief, Jeremiah took comfort in God’s great love, as King David had. Jeremiah’s tone changes from one of sorrow to one of hope as he recalls God’s mercy and faithfulness.
Even in times of trouble and judgement, God’s love for Israel never changed. God’s promises are true, and His covenant with the descendants of Abraham would be kept. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)
Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39), nor can anything consume us because of His great love. This is definitely a comfort when I consider my fear of being overcome by my struggles.
When I think of all the ways that God supplies and helps us each day, His mercies truly are new every morning. This does comfort me.
Faith is an active thing; it requires asking to receive, seeking to find, and knocking for the door to open. If we’re actively looking for God’s mercies, we’ll have no problem finding them each day.