Finding Solace in Psalm 143

Navigating Loss and Seeking Comfort

Author - Emma Stanley

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this week has been a very hard one as we have been navigating Jauhmar leaving the fellowship team especially while in the throws of preparing for Oaxaca. This week’s prompt for me is about a passage of scripture that I find myself returning to, especially amid this navigation and I figured I’d like to tell the story of when I first began to deep dive into Psalm 143.

In the rollercoaster of life, there are moments that shake us to our core, leaving us feeling lost and alone. For me, one of those moments came during my time working at Sky Ranch in Colorado, a place where I found solace in the beauty of nature, the warmth of community, and the joy of serving high schoolers. But even amidst such serenity, the pain of loss seeped in, leaving me grappling for understanding and seeking comfort where I couldn’t find it.

Psalm 143 became a beacon of hope for me during one of the hardest periods of my life. As I reflect on its verses, I am reminded of the power of faith and the love and peace that God can give our human spirit in the face of adversity and grief.

The psalm begins with a cry for mercy, a plea for God to hear our prayers and not turn away from us in our time of need. It speaks to the depths of despair that we can sometimes find ourselves in, where the weight of sorrow feels too heavy to bear alone. In those moments, it's comforting to know that we can turn to our God for strength and guidance.

During my time at Sky Ranch, I experienced the loss of two dear family friends. Their sudden departure left me reeling, struggling to make sense of a world that suddenly seemed too heavy, especially on the side of a mountain so far from my support system. I was away from all of my family trying to find out how to grieve in a way that was sustainable and glorifying to God while still serving at camp. In those heavy days, Psalm 143 became my lifeline, a source of comfort and reassurance that I was not alone in my grief. My community group held me in their arms as I grieved and even offered to fly me back home to attend one of the funerals, they continued to point me to the God of all comfort and I found myself constantly sitting with Psalm 143 in front of me.

As the psalmist cries out to God for deliverance from his enemies, I found myself echoing those same sentiments, albeit in a different context. The enemies I faced were not physical adversaries, but rather the overwhelming emotions of sadness and despair that threatened to consume my thoughts in their entirety. Yet, in the midst of my pain, I clung to the hope that God would lead me out of the darkness and into the light once again and do so miraculously and overwhelmingly.

Verse 8 of Psalm 143 holds particular significance for me: "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." The mornings were when grief and homesickness hit me hardest but this verse is a call to trust in God's love and guidance, even when the path ahead seems shrouded in uncertainty and that’s exactly what I did.

During my time of mourning, I found solace in the beauty of the Colorado landscape, where Horn Peak and the Sangre de Cristo range reached up to touch the sky and crystal-clear streams reminded me of our promise of eternity. In those quiet moments of reflection, I felt a sense of peace wash over me, a gentle reminder that life is a journey filled with both joy and sorrow and that amid our pain, there is beauty to be found if only we allow ourselves to look for it.

As I navigated my way through the grieving process, Psalm 143 served as a constant companion, offering words of wisdom and comfort when I needed them most. It reminded me that I must cry out to God in times of trouble and that He is always there to listen, even when I feel like no one else understands.

In the end, the importance of Psalm 143 lies not only in its timeless wisdom and comforting words but also in its ability to speak to the human experience in all its complexity. It's a reminder that no matter what challenges we may face, we are never truly alone, we are covered in love because God is always by our side, ready to guide us through the darkest of nights into the light of a new day. For me, this most often appeared through the love of my community group in Colorado and continues to appear in the listening ears and loving conversations I have with those nearest to me.

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