The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, February 3, 2023, was written by Karen Wingate, Arizona.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
Psalm 23:1-6 NRSV
ROD AND STAFF
Despite experiencing severe vision loss in childhood, I enjoyed hiking in the Southern Rockies with my family. Some parts of the trail were scary because I couldn’t judge drop-off distances when climbing over rocky outcroppings or see the thorny bushes along the trail. So, my uncle devised a plan to help me. He and I held opposite ends of his walking stick while he walked in front, giving verbal descriptions of what was coming. As we hiked, the dip and sway of the stick alerted me to the obstacles ahead.
Scripture promises us that God’s rod and staff will give us comfort and courage. A shepherd would use a rod and staff to protect and guide the sheep through any dangers along their path. Likewise, God walks with us, protecting us from unseen dangers and guiding us through whatever we encounter. Just as I was able to relax on my hikes because of my uncle’s walking stick, we can confidently maneuver through life without fear, reassured that God leads the way and will never abandon us. As long as we hold on to God, we will find assurance of God’s presence, power, and protection.
Karen’s reflection is a wonderful reminder of the peace we can enjoy when we allow God to lead us along the path of life. I encourage you to reread Karen’s devotion and ask yourself: “Will I trust God to lead me, even when I can’t see the path ahead?”
Dear God, thank you for the comfort of your constant presence. Guide us through and obstacles we encounter. Amen.
- Karen Wingate