Friday, January 27, 2012


Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4c, NLT)

Since it was written somewhere between 1040 and 970 BC, countless thoughts have been shared about the 23rd Psalm.  Nevertheless, with God's living and active word, it can touch us afresh today.  As I was sitting in quiet time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit touched me with something deeper in regards to this beloved psalm to share with parents of children with special needs.

When we acknowledge that Christ's rod and staff are affecting us, we must also realize that He comes attached to those instruments.  For those unfamiliar with the shepherd's equipment, know that the rod and the staff are used for rescue, discipline, keeping the herd on track moving in the right direction and for protection from attackers.  The qualities of the One using these instruments is as key as the instruments themselves.

When we are led by the rod and staff of the Good Shepherd, we have full access to:
  • Wisdom -- I strongly encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 2!  As parents of children with special needs, one of our high callings is to make wise decisions for these precious children.  All too often, when I'm moving in my own strength rather than the Lord's, I find that discernment is foggy or I feel anxiety in not knowing what to do.  But when I yield to Christ's rod and His staff, I am granted the mind of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I can move forward knowing that even if I don't have a strong sense of what to do, the decision that God has guided me to will work out and will be covered by Him completely.  
  • Compassion -- Read through the dozens of times God's compassion is cited in the Bible.  Probably the best summary comes in Psalm 86:15, "But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,   slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." (NIV)  That tender mercy is not only extended to us through life's difficulties, but in yielding to the Shepherd's direction, flows through us to others so deeply in need of it.
  • Power -- Weak as we are, we need a strong Advocate, and that is exactly what we have in our majestic God!  The same One who flung stars into space and raised Jesus from the grave is now living inside of you, if you are a follower of the Good Shepherd.  The implications are awesome!  No illness, financial difficulty or interpersonal struggles can dominate you.  You are sheltered by the full power of the Lord of the Universe. 
  • Glory -- Some of the definitions Merriam Webster Dictionary gives of the word "glory" include "renown" or "great beauty and splendor".  That brilliant sense of awe, that had to be "tucked in" as Jesus appeared to be one who was just like us throughout the Incarnation, is available to take our breath away any time we care to meditate upon it.  The virtually unfathomable glory of the One who leads me is what brings deep joy, strengthening hope and a sound peace no matter if I'm in a hospital or on a beach.
These are merely a miniscule fraction of the magnificent qualities available to us through Christ's rod and staff.  Don't discount the growth, provision and replenishment provided through them as well.  I pray that you take the time to reflect upon these things as you journey through your days.  After all, special needs parenting can be a deepening knowledge of the remarkable character of God if only you will let it be!

Pray:  Lord, I want to know you more and more!  Be my Guide through this challenging life.  Help me to see you in every part of it.  Grow my joy as I grow in You.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Barb! As many times as I have studied and taught Psalm 23 I don't think I've ever reflected specifically on the fact that Jesus the Shepherd is attached to the rod and staff! Awesome observation!