Psalm 56 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 56:2

My enemies trample on me all day long, for many fight against me.

O Most High, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:2

The lizard makes it look so easy.  As do the young jocks that just dig in their fingers and pull themselves up rock faces before quickly disappearing into the woods.  Even my hiking buddy made it up without too much effort, but he’s much taller.  And there was me.  Stuck on the rock.  The crevice that served as a toehold was not quite high enough for me to reach a tough root above to pull myself the rest of the way.  Nor could I find another toehold to step myself up further.  Nor was there an easy way to  jump off and start over now that I was committed.  It was silly to feel panicked and pinned to the rock, but that’s what I was.  Panic is not a friend of puzzle-solving; panic only says “you can’t.”  I hung there wishing I had taken lessons from my rock climbing son.  Wishing doesn’t make the panic go away.  Soon my buddy was back offering suggestions; eventually I found a handhold and with help slowly wiggled myself up.  We decided I should have tried a different route….or maybe have done some strength training before heading on the trail. Hindsight is wonderful.

Quite frankly, we can’t prepare for every unforeseeable challenge in our lives.  Today I ended up in front of a group ready to give a devotional with the wrong manuscript in front of me.  I am more of a writer than natural speaker.  Panic, my personal enemy, showed up again.  Pinned to the lectern, I wish I had remembered to laugh at myself, put the manuscript aside, jump off and play with the words and thoughts from memory.  Instead I kept my toehold and tried to adapt and wiggle myself through it.  It was an underwhelming attempt, and I can only trust that the Most High took some of the words and made sense of it to the listeners.  Is it a coincidence that I came back later to finish this post, saw the lizard on the rock and finally had to laugh at myself?  I had panicked once again.  Lessons from the trail are still being learned in ordinary time.  It takes a lot of “training” to learn how to trust, doesn’t it?


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  When do you panic?  When can you trust?

2. Or read all of Psalm 56 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm or to discover a different verse.

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

Tomorrow’s verse is from Psalm 57:7-9.

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. 🙂 I think that I would most likely still be on the rock….