Psalm 142 (Psalms on the Trail)

"When my spirit is faint, you show me the way." Psalm 142:3

“When my spirit is faint, you show me the way.” Psalm 142:3

I know I’ve mentioned it several times over the last few weeks, but there were situations of boulder climbing or wet rock treading while on  the New Jersey and New York trail where I wasn’t sure I was going to get up or down.  Imagine a jumble of boulders ten times the size of the ones pictured above or visualize picking through a rock scree ascending 75 feet.  My spirit was literally too faint to even think about taking a photo—so I have very few of the last trip.  I could only moan and make an attempt to follow the blazes.  For the first time I felt like quitting.  After several falls, bruises, scrapes, bleeding legs and a pulled back muscle, I certainly began to question the wisdom of what I was doing.  Even now, I am hesitant and nervous about attempting some of the hikes north of the Susquehanna River where the trail is known for rocks—although i am told they are smaller.

I know we all have days and seasons like this, right?  Where “faint spirit” seems to describe us to a tee.  Where the trails in our lives get really hard and we wonder if we are going in the right direction or if we are foolishly trying to attempt something beyond out abilities.  We can apply those same questions to work or relationships,  church or recovery programs.

How does one know when it is time to let go and movie in a different direction because the way one is going is no longer viable?  How does one know when it it time to hang in there, trust and keep persevering one step at a time?

I have tried to listen for an answer by gathering information, by listening to those I love and respect and by listening even deeper to my spirit’s tentative voice that seems consistent with the desires and calling God has given.  Apparently I also listen to my feet since they have something at stake in this. I actually found my feet wandering into the store with hiking gear where I discovered trail pants on sale to replace the ones that literally were ripped to shreds on the rocks.  Also on sale were my favorite hiking shoes which need replacing (sort of like tires) to grip the road (trail) better when the treads start to get worn.  My feet have spoken to my faint heart for the time being—and we’ll move forward one hike at a time.


1. Read the verse and reflect on its meaning for you.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder? Where have you felt like quitting but instead are still persevering? from your perspective now is that a good decision?

2. Read all of Psalm 142 and see 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 143.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting an (almost) 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.