Tuesday, May 12, 2015


“Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me...” 
(Psalm 23:4).

One of my earthly physicians suggested that I might benefit by using a walking stick with a hand grasp during my daily exercise treks down my country road. There are several inclines and the surface is not entirely smooth. 

“You don't necessarily need a cane to lean on for support, but for comfort. It will give your pace a rhythmic pattern and help you maintain balance. Just hold it lightly in your palm and swing it ahead of you with each step putting it down at your side like a third foot as you walk.”

Okay. That sounded like a sensible recommendation since my soon calendar birthday ends with a milestone zero. I've noticed lately that I have a slightly weaker right knee; it's no problem that I need to have fixed, but it could give out occasionally. Falls become more frequent as our years advance. I looked for a bargain and bought a sturdy used cane with a gold handle and rubber tip for a whole dollar at a neighborhood yard sale. It works for me! I can even step up my pace a bit with more confidence. My "comfort cane" has proved to be “a comfort.”

According to the Bible Dictionary, in biblical times a staff was a wooden rod used mainly for walking. It was considered essential equipment for any journey on foot, no matter what the health or age of the walker. The poor traveler carried nothing but a staff. When Jesus told the apostles to take no staff for the preaching journey on which He sent them, He meant that they should literally journey with nothing. 

A rod was a taller, slender staff also used as a walking stick by travelers and the elderly. The rod was also a sign of office or authority, as the rods of Moses and Aaron with which they could perform wonders. In other contexts, a rod was used for correction of foolish behavior. The rod of a shepherd, however, was used to direct and defend his sheep; it was never used for punishment, but was a comfort to his flock.

The difference between the two does not seem great, although a staff is often thought of as a taller pole to be held in the middle. Similar to the carved walking pole my grandson Jeffrey gave me for a Mothers' Day gift last year. 

Spiritually, I'm thankful for all the applications of God's rod and staff, especially the comfort aspect which is a reminder of the Holy Spirit who is called “the Comforter,” one called alongside to help. As I walk my journey of life, no matter what my health or age, I'm more than happy to lean even heavily on the Lord. His presence is my “essential equipment.” I don't want to leave home without it!  I welcome His staff to direct me, to point the way where I should go. And when I stubbornly or inadvertently stray from the paths of righteousness, I accept His “correction of my foolish behavior.” I need His defense from the wolves who lurk along my pathway.

“Savior, like a shepherd lead us
Much we need Thy tender care...
….Be the guardian of our way,
Keep Thy flock from sin defend us
Seek us when we go astray....”


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