Psalm 130 (Psalms on the Trail)


2014-10-08 06.38.30

“My soul waits for the Lord,

more than those who keep watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:6

My experience of keeping watch for the morning happens on the trail.  After a hard day of backpacking, I am in the tent by dusk, body aching, exhausted and soon sink into sleep. But often around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. I wake up and simply wait for it to get light.  A bird might give a tentative call, and hearing no answer, fall back into silence.  Then another will test the air.  I wonder if the darkness is really fading or if it is my imagination or only moonlight after all.  I am never sure how far the night is gone unless I turn on my phone—which I sometimes avoid and choose instead simply to listen, watch and wait for the light however long it takes.  Eventually one bird starts a song, then a song starts from another tree and yet another.  Perhaps in fifteen minutes time the tent is surrounded with sounds echoing in the forest, and I notice that it is light enough to begin the morning routine: dress in sweat-dried clothes, pack the sleeping quilt into a stuff sack, flatten and roll up the air mattress and stick my feet out of the tent to awkwardly put on my shoes and begin the day.

Psalm 130 is a cry for God’s listening ear, a longing for God’s reliable forgiveness, a trust in God’s steadfast love. And in the midst of this crying, longing and trusting the psalmist says:

“My soul waits for the Lord

more than those who keep watch for the morning,

more than those who keep watch for the morning.”

The psalmist listens, watches and waits for God’s forgiveness, love and healing in much the same way, never seeming to doubt that it will eventually come to light, that help will arrive, that life will again move forward.

Here is one of my favorite musical settings of Psalm 130 from John Rutter’s “Requiem.”



  1. Take these verses with you this day.  What do you long for?
  2. Read the whole psalm and see how these verses fit in.
  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 131.

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.