When You’ve Got Flat-Feeling, Joke-Sounding, Ready to Quit Faith

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4 ESV

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel


Are you feeling flat in your faith?


Do words like hope and perseverance sound like a joke?


Do you ever wake up ready to quit being the good wife, mother, neighbor, or friend?


I know I have.


When I start to feel this way, I think of a man who runs in my neighborhood.


Most mornings I see him fly down the road with one arm stretched out to his side, and joy plastered on his face. He runs with reckless abandon – no form or grace in his movements. He looks completely free as he possesses the whole of the moment and enjoying every bit of it.


When I first saw him, I wondered why he ran in such an odd way, then I realized something …


He’s blind.


Amazing! This man runs, full tilt, down the road sweeping his white cane in front of him. He’s not timid or afraid. He knows where he’s going and laughs along the way.


How does he do it?


How did he get to a place where vision is irrelevant and joy is apparent?


It must be his cane.


It tells him everything he needs to know. As he runs the same roads each day, he trusts his cane to give him the information he needs to avoid potholes and obstacles.


So I asked myself:


“Do I trust my Cane? Do I trust Him enough to run with reckless abandon and utter joy?”


I can’t say I do. Not yet.


Tucked into the verses of Psalm 23 are eight words I never fully appreciated.


“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”


Maybe it’s because they’re words sandwiched between other words that talk about walking in a valley of death, and eating lunch in front of my enemies.


Or maybe I haven’t appreciated them because rods and staffs remind me of spankings and getting into trouble. I’ve always seen them as rough tools of discipline and confinement; things to squash my will and wanderings.


Yet David said the rod and staff brought him comfort. And a cane is absolutely necessary for my joyful, blind friend to run the way he does.


I think we have to get our heads around the necessity of God’s rod and staff. To love them if we want to run with freedom and joy in this life.


Primitive shepherds used a rod and staff to tend their sheep. A rod, similar to a club, was made to fit perfectly into a shepherd’s hand. It was an extension of his right arm and used to defend his flock, or  warn his sheep who began to wander. It was also used to count his sheep. In the Old Testament this was referred to as passing “under the rod”.


“I will take note of you as you pass under my rod.” (Ezekiel 20:37)


In this verse, we can see the rod as a symbol of God’s authority and strength over us. Yet as we pass under His rod, He takes notice of us and we are marked with His care and protection.


A staff was used to guide sheep through rough, uncertain, terrain or narrow gates. It was also used to catch individual sheep so they could be examined carefully for disease or sickness. And a staff was used to lift sheep who had fallen down steep cliffs.


Who knew a rod and staff were things that could bring, well, comfort?


Faith flourishes when we live by the comfort of God’s rod and staff.


So when your flat-feeling, joke sounding faith makes you want to quit, pay more attention to God’s rod and staff. Are you depending on them enough, or are you ignoring your Shepherds attempts to bring you further into the fold?


May you find true comfort in Him today!


Lord, thank you for being my Good Shepherd. Lead me through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13) and guide me through the rough pastures of my life with your mighty rod. I am grateful for your staff that draws me near to You. Inspect my heart. Examine my ways and rescue me off steep and dangerous cliffs.

4 Replies

  1. Karen Uribe

    This was an awesome read for me this morning Raye, thank you!!!! See you tomorrow 🙂

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you my friend!

  2. Lori perez

    Thank u Raye that was very good. Happy Easter to you. May His Rod and His Staff always keep you safe.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Happy Easter to you too, Lori!

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