Called a psalm of distress, it is a cry for help, with earlier verses sounding like there are no reserve or resources left. For instance, in verse 4, “My spirit is faint within me; my heart is dismayed.” Gratefully, we know that God is always our refuge and will lead, teach and deliver us. However, for me being on God’s timetable, is not always a place of contentment, because I have an unfortunate tendency of trying to control too much. God is more patient with me, than I am and in His mercy consoles and encourages me to trust.
This psalm, attributed to King David, is asking for deliverance and guidance. God’s past faithfulness encourages David (and I) to confidently call on the Lord to help against present enemies and to teach us to do God’s will, as it says in verse 10, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level.” That verse connects with me, for I suffer from vertigo and being level is vital for many reasons. Perhaps God in kindness is encouraging me to love myself as I am, not as I wish to be.
Heartened by St. Teresa of Avila’s words, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him,” believe that God hears the prayers of our hearts, knows the pains of each of our lives and the enemies we are surrounded by. We pray boldly to be shown where to trust, where to let go, plus how to draw closer midst specific pain and uncertainties. I have learned in my caretaking role, we can do little to make anything ‘better,’ but the gift of our presence is profound. As a nurturer, we usually want to fix things for people. However, choosing to set aside the uneasiness of the moment, to sit in silence with the person, is the better option for a caring response. Compassion is the gift that God sends through us, as no words can bring comfort, but our presence and tears that we can offer, sustain God’s presence through us.
Keeping our eyes on the road, particularly when driving a winding road, where one cannot see the path ahead, is as we know required. When our fears seem to be overcoming our faith, perhaps we have taken our eyes off God and this awareness will help us readjust. The Bible has many verses about fear and reminds us God’s word says, “I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.” Philippians 4:13. Faith defeats fear every time and can propel us forward believing we will be rescued and able to live in hope.
Honestly addressing God in trust with our complaining, anger, frustration, helplessness and desperation – this is our prayer. Sometimes it is messy, but God knows we are on a journey with loved ones, walking with them through their life and death. These are sacred moments, where God is very present. Pray Psalm 143 and believe the path will be revealed.