August 30, 2016
As we wrap up our sermon series in Psalms this Sunday, take a moment to read a few personal stories from people in our Reach Family who have been impacted by the Psalms in a meaningful way.
Last summer, I was faced with the darkest time of my life. Devastating circumstances lead me to break off my engagement and cancel my wedding a month before it was supposed to happen. That time held a lot of trauma, grief, depression and anxiety. I experienced panic attacks for the first time. Psalm 16 was my outcry to God; my prayer of desperation. I remember sobbing while reading it aloud to Jesus.
The Psalm starts out with the writer begging God to preserve him. It continues saying that the Lord holds his lot and declares his beautiful inheritance. It reminded me that Jesus holds my everything: my story, my grief, my future husband. It was also a reminder that no matter how painful and ugly this world can be, my inheritance is in heaven. The Psalm ends declaring that God has made known a path and in His presence there is fullness of joy. That became my prayer, to know the fullness of joy in His presence.
- Sami Price
For me, what I looked forward to most was being a husband and father. For the longest time, I thought it might never happen. A few years back, I was in a relationship and thought it was “the one”. It ended abruptly. I was so frustrated with God and equally heartbroken, calling out, “Why are you letting this happen to me?” Despite my lack of faith and that I was questioning God’s plan, He gently nudged me in the right direction.I vividly remember coming across Psalm 19, specifically verse 14, which says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.” It was a call for me to put my desires and needs aside and submit, as much as humanly possible, to whatever God had in store. Not much more than a year later, I met the love of my life, in God’s timing–not mine.I truly believe that this verse was God’s way of gently reminding me that He was there and He was in control. That does not mean I will always, ultimately get what I want, but it does mean that God’s plan for my life is better than anything I can imagine.
- Jonathan Brodin
When I was 16, I was in a car accident that left me with severe pain on the upper left half of my body. I visited doctor after doctor trying to find relief and figure out what was happening. About a year and a half after the accident, we found a specialist that identified the pain as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It was a relief to finally have an answer, but there was still confusion as to next steps.
During this time, I remember my fiancé, David driving me home one day, passionately singing Psalm 62. The words really stuck with me and have since: "He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." I still deal with pain and whether or not my arm will be normal again, but this verse brings peace. Our God is a good, good father. I can trust in Him at all times.
The beauty of God is that He knows what is coming into our lives before we even have a hint of it. I came to understand Psalm 121 through a study I was doing through the Psalms of Ascent. Our goal was to memorize the Psalm, which I did but I had no concept of how often I would quote this liturgy to myself over the years to come.
Psalm 121 was spoken by Pilgrims as they traveled to Jerusalem, often times over hard terrain to the temple as a beautiful reminder of the faithfulness of the God they were moving towards. I always loved the symbolism that this carried for our own Pilgrimages on earth. It has elements of call and response which remind me life is meant to be lived in community and the bulk of the Psalm is a fluid reminder that in all circumstances our God is with us, sheltering us, protecting us, holding our feet in place even if that includes tumultuous life circumstances.
This past year has been a very hard season of marriage for me and my husband. There were so many days that I would be driving to work and not have what seemed like the right words to pray. I would feel weak from fear and simultaneously numb and overtaken by grief or anger. One morning, I opened my mouth in this frame of mind with nothing to say and Psalm 121 came out. God had faithfully hidden it away in my mind for this time. Although it did not necessarily remove the struggle, it reminded me and put into perspective who was truly with me in each and every struggle.