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
There are many (myself included) that believe that the shepherd's rod serves a three-fold purpose: protection, correction and inspection. There are others, however, that contend that the rod spoken of in Psalm 23 could not possibly be the rod of correction because the verse goes on to say, "they comfort me." These contenders argue that there is no comfort to be found in correction. I strongly disagree, and here's why:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? - Hebrews 12:6-7
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. - Proverbs 3:11-12
God's correction serves as a reminder of His love and care for me. He loves me too much to allow me to have my own way. He cares for me too much to leave me to my own ideas and plans. He loves me and delights in me, and his correction proves that, just as a parent who loves their child will discipline him when the need arises. Yes, the correction may sting temporarily. Yes, we, just like the child, may pout and fume because we didn't get our own way. But before long, once our tempers have cooled, we realize how that rod of correction was also a rod of protection. By chastising us, God saved us from ourselves and our own stupid mistakes.
No comfort in correction? I beg to differ. I don't know about you, but I find it very comforting to know that God loves me too much to allow me to settle for less than His best and that He's willing to face my anger and tantrums in order to accomplish what's best for me. I find great comfort in the fact that the Lord of all the universe takes the time to watch out for me and make sure I'm on the right path. If nothing else, it proves a love that cannot be denied. And that brings me great comfort!