Yesterday we talked about Jesus’s prayer for His disciples and all of His followers (Do You Have the Full Measure of Christ’s Joy In You?). What did Jesus do after He prayed? “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it.” (John 18:1) He was with them, and He is always with us.

Scripture is replete with the Lord telling His people that He is always with us, and He is not indifferent to the storms in our lives. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6) Even when it looks like the enemy will win, let’s remember “what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chron 20:15). We do not go through our storms and battles alone: “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

If by faith you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, then you must trust in Him, in His plans and in His ways, knowing He knows what is best for you and for His purposes. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6) I don’t know what storms you are facing today, but I know this: If you are a child of the One True King, you are never alone. “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.” (Ps. 23:4)

Have you ever wondered why we should be comforted by His rod and staff? Just before this verse it says, “He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” (v 3) Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He leads us where He wants us to go for His glory and His purpose. Rods were sometimes used as weapons of defense or offense and sometimes simply as a walking stick (Gen 32:10), but most of the time the rod was a symbol of correction and discipline like when Solomon wrote (Proverbs 13:24) “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”  The Lord loves us and will correct us when we are on the wrong path, and lead us where He wants to lead us. We can be comforted that while we do not always know what the Lord wants us to do, if we seek Him, He will show us the way and make our paths straight. He brings back the wandering or straying sheep with the shepherd’s crook (staff), which has a curved end that fits the neck of the sheep perfectly. He can defend the flock from the wolves by His rod and correct us by His rod when we need it and He can keep the sheep close to Him by the staff.

As I was reflecting this morning on these and other Scriptures promising that the Lord is always with me, I heard the song by Casting Crowns, “Just Be Held”, which put an exclamation point to my reflection. I want to share some of it with you now, and encourage you to allow yourself to KNOW He is with you now and always, and just let Him hold you.

Hold it all together, everybody needs you strong. But life hits you out of nowhere and barely leaves you holding on. And when you’re tired of fighting, chained by your control, there’s freedom in surrender, lay it down and let it go.

If your eyes are on the storm you’ll wonder if I love you still; But if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know I always have and I always will. And not a tear is wasted, in time, you’ll understand; I’m painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in My hands.

Lift your hands, lift your eyes; In the storm is where you’ll find Me; And where you are, I’ll hold your heart, I’ll hold your heart; Come to Me, find your rest in the arms of the God who won’t let go.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, you’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held; Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place; I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.