Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 KJV
I always thought this verse was about surviving terrifying and enormously trying circumstances – and I’m not saying it isn’t – but it has new meaning for me now. I am still experiencing the death throes of addiction, so my days are more shadow than light at the moment. And my steady comfort is His discipline.
See, I’m kind of a jerk these days. It’s been a jerkfest around here. I’m impatient and unkind and short-tempered. I get shrill and dramatic over nothing. I cry without warning or reason. Sometimes I can’t focus and my memory gets squirrely. I think that talking to me in those moments is like trying to communicate with a surly fishwife who’s been recently concussed.
I know that I’m a jerk and I don’t want to be. I hate it! And it is such a comfort and a relief when the Lord checks me and crooks me back in. Sometimes He uses people (Thank you, John, for standing firm in the storm of crazy!). Sometimes He uses animals (My dog has a look of pure wounded innocence that stabs my soul when I yell at her for having the audacity to act like a dog.). And sometimes it’s just straight-up Jesus through the Bible.
2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness,
but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
God’s love holds the line, reminding me of what is real when I am unable to see it.
Grace, the unmerited favor of God. It is God’s grace and love that checks my tantrum, stopping the spin before I careen off the cliff in a fiery self-immolation. Grace moves as He wills, even when I feel utterly disconnected from Him in every way. He is with me, and His rod and staff are a steady and present comfort in my current maelstrom of unpredictable emotions.
We have an anchor.