Thy Rod and Thy staff comfort me. I literally paused when I read those words. For some reason they were never truly profound until I read them a few days ago. I have begun a new journey, I do not know if I want to call this a resolution, seeing as that particular word is fraught with failure. This journey is to read Psalm 23 every morning. I may end up switching it every month, and try to memorize the verse or chapter I am reading. Anyways, I digress. I first read the 23rd Psalm, and when I read, “your rod and your staff- they comfort me.” I had an epiphany.
I find it a little cliché that David compares God to a shepherd; while that is just me hearing that comparison over and over again, I find a new sense of complete and whole love through that comparison. When we think of a rod and a staff being used by a shepherd most of us equate that to the man standing with a wooden hooked staff in the meadow with sheep. I think we tend to, quite easily, forget that when the shepherd moves his sheep to a better feeding ground, he uses that staff to guide them to it. Some sheep are less resistant to go right away and then the man uses his tool to pull the stubborn sheep along with him. This doesn’t necessarily hurt the sheep, but it does correct its ways. I believe God does that all the time to those who proclaim him as Lord and yet do not follow along with his teachings. These people are the stubborn sheep. God uses his tool to grab us by the neck, and he pulls hard. I am one of those sheep. I have been supplanted in my spot, firm. I did not want to be moved, because change is scary. But it is also a freeing feeling. Grace is what we get in this. God is still going to give us an undeserved love. No matter how long we sit, holding onto our past life God is still going to be with us and will always try to pull us to greener pastures.
I have been struggling with the idea of grace. Why would an all-powerful, amazing Creator want to give me undeserved grace? I am such a screw up. I have sinned more often than I care to admit, and yet grace is still there. This idea of the gift of grace baffles me. That is the problem with grace; grace is so simplistic, yet we, as humans, overcomplicate things. For grace to be grace we cannot expect it, but at the same time we cannot say no to it. Grace is given freely, because someone, mainly God, loves us so much. So when you have the opportunity to accept grace, go ahead and accept it. It does no good to deny it. Denying forgiveness is hard on anybody. You keep living in your guilt and you do not allow grace to take its full effect. Are you willing to let your sin consume you fully or are you going to accept the free gift of grace and allow our Shepherd to love you and show you how to live the best life you possibly could?