Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
During World War II, the island of Jersey, along with other Nazi-occupied territories, relied heavily on the radio. Neither the local press nor the Red Cross messaging service were reliable, due to heavy censorship, therefore the radio was their only link to the outside world.
On June 8, 1942, the islanders of Jersey were horrified when they heard the order from the Feldkommandantur that all radios were to be confiscated for "security reasons".
Many islanders decided to hide their radio, as they considered it their only source of hope to freedom.
The Nazis didn't take to this "insubordination" too kindly, however. They continually searched for these illegal devices, and anyone caught would face terrible consequences. Take, for example, Canon Clifford Cohu, rector of St. Savior's church and chaplain at the General Hospital. He couldn't stop himself from openly spreading the hope announced on his radio with his parishioners and patients. He was arrested and sent to a "work education camp" in Germany, where he was subject to continuously beatings and starvation. He never lost hope, however. It was engraved in his heart, even though he died weighing less than 98 pounds. Many others fared the same consequences, all because they had hidden their radios, their only source of hope.
We, as believers, of the Most High, have a hope that goes well beyond the radio. Our hope is anchored deep in the Heavens. Our Heavenly Father is our link to real hope and total freedom. As long as we focus on this hope, nothing will faze us. We discover quite quickly that "Your (God's) rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Ps 23:4b, NIV)
God's rod stands for God's discipline, as illustrated in Psalms 89:32a: "I will punish their sin with the rod . . ." We welcome this discipline, for it proves that God truly loves us and wants what is best for us. Who else would discipline us? Would we ever learn otherwise?
God's staff stands for guidance, as mentioned in Micah 7:14a: "Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance"
Why do these give us such comfort? They give us hope amidst our adversities, as they are proof that God stands with us and for us. It confirms that "The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing." (Ps 23:1, NIV) We truly lack nothing!
With such a hope we can face anything, even the valley of death, as long as we focus on this hope. Hope, after all, is catchy, and we can't help but share the hope that sustains us at all times with others, just like Canon Clifford Cohu, unfazed by what the consequences might be. Only those who have such hope can do this.
We truly have nothing to fear when we rely completely on our Heavenly Father!
Dear Lord, thank you that no matter what we face in live we can completely rely upon You. Thank You that we can place our hpe in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.