Psalm 107 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 107

“Then in their trouble they cried to the Lord,

and God delivered them from their distress.”  

Psalm 107: 6 (13,19,28)

There was a turning point on the D.C. to Pittsburgh walk: crossing the eastern continental divide. Were it not for the sign, one wouldn’t be able to tell.  The eastern continental divide marks the line at which water flows east to the Atlantic or west to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.  That line is not a straight line and is rather vague where there is no stream to determine direction.  But the major significance for me in crossing this “line” was that whenever my walk rejoined a river, I would no longer be walking “upstream” but walking downstream, going with the flow.

The psalmist tells four stories of situations where people found or got themselves into trouble.  In each situation things went from bad to worse until in desperation they cried to God for help “and God delivered them from their distress.”  Crying for help and God delivering is the turning point.  The two go together. That turning point in each of the four stories is followed by God showing the way, or God setting free, or God healing, or God calming the storm.  After a closing summary the psalmist says:  “Whoever is wise will ponder these things and consider well the Lord’s steadfast love.”

Asking for help is such a hard thing for people! It is seen as weakness, not strength.   I just read in the Christian Century, that the number one reason for requests for physician assisted suicides in those countries and states where it is legal is not unbearable pain, but is not wanting to be a burden and requiring assistance.  We want so much to do it ourselves.  Many think that the phrase “God loves those who help themselves” comes from the bible. It doesn’t; it comes from Benjamin Franklin quoting an English political theorist, Algernon Sidney.  Jesus never, ever said that.

What makes it hard for you to ask for help?  Can you name a turning point where God has helped you in the past?  How did things change (or not change) after you asked for help?  Did that situation change your relationship with God?  “Whoever is wise will ponder these things, and consider well the Lord’s steadfast love.”

Suggestions:

1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder? Can you name a turning point where God has helped you in the past?

2. Or read all of Psalm 107 and see where these verses fit in.  

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm will be Psalm 108:4.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at http://elainedent.net or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.