My Encounter with Psalm 143

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”  (Psalm 143:9-11).

Psalm 143 takes me back to a time when I was about 16 years old.  I grew up in church and went to church every time the doors were open.  Though I loved God, I  felt that church inhibited my social life in school.  This particular night was a Lenten service and I was just plain ol’ sick of attending church.  I fought with my parents and even told them I hated God.  I went to my room, took my Bible, and stomped on it over and over with tears in my eyes.  My argument failed, my parents prevailed, and I went to service.

That evening was different than the previous weeks.  For whatever reason, we read a Scripture corporately before entering the sanctuary.  This was highly unusual because I do not remember reading Scripture at ALL growing up in the Lutheran church. Everything was in the hymnal or on pre-printed bulletin papers.  So, reading an actual Scripture (pre-printed) was different.

As I read through Psalm 143, I really began to cry.  The words “answer me quickly, LORD, my spirit fails” were the truth for me at that moment.  “Rescue me from my enemies” seemed to fit the suffering I  believed was happening in my teen life.   I clung to “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you”. The morning did bring an amazing surprise, but even that ended too soon.

Psalm 143, however, became the Psalm in which I knew God talked to me or at least heard my cries for help.  Thirty-six years later, I see that He did answer my cry –– not the cry of a teenager whose world was built on social and emotional foundations, but the cry from the soul that the Father knew was wanting to be set free.

For 40 years and more, God has been teaching me His Will through His Word, and His Spirit has been leading me on not only level ground, but firm and stable ground.  He has taken my life from a pit of despair and given me an full life in Him.  I learned about His goodness through the preservation of my life in times of serious illness and miscarriage.  I have witnessed Him silence not only my enemies, but also the Adversary that endangered my life and the lives of my children.    I have come to know His unfailing love in circumstances that seemed to make no sense, but had great purpose.   Today, I read Psalm 143 with an assurance of my faith, hope, and love in Yeshua –– and a little nostalgia.

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you” (Psalm 143:5-6).

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