Psalm 121 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 121

“The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.”  Psalm 121:8

I love this psalm.  I have it memorized for those times when I see the trail winding uphill and I groan.  “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?” I have a rhythmic way of saying it to my hiking pace that helps keeps me going.

But I cherish the last verse of this psalm for a different reason.  It’s about transitions.  Goings and comings.  Arriving and departing.  Tears and laughter.  In the photo above I had arrived at my destination of Damascus, VA, after two months on the trail.  In an hour I would say good-bye to my hiking buddy and begin the long drive back home to daily responsibilities of a different sort. It was an ending of one way of life and a returning to another.

Transitions, and there are myriads of different kinds, are often not easy.  We may feel like we are losing pieces of ourselves along the way.  This is true for us as people and for our congregations discerning mission in a changing culture.  How beautiful to ponder with the psalmist that the Lord keeps our transitional comings and goings in God’s grasp.   That we don’t have to worry about picking up the pieces.  That God gathers our comings and goings and holds us steady through the changes before us.  This verse gives me courage.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  What transitions or changes are you experiencing now?

2. Or read the whole psalm to find out how this verse fits into the whole.

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

The next post will be on Psalm 122.

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 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.


  1. Phaidra Cox says:

    “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

    Time of transition….this photo is taken from the deck of the venue where Elaine is going to perform the wedding ceremony for my daughter and future son in law next February. My prayer is that they will keep their eyes on Him as they prepare for and enter this new phase of their lives. Transition, indeed! Probably the biggest one a couple can experience in this life!

    • Elaine Dent says:

      And I am honored to officiate at Lauren and Jon’s wedding. I don’t imagine we will be outside on the deck though 🙂