The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27, KJV
For this part of the series, I want to talk about how the psalms have taken me through some things dealing with the pillar and constant in my life, my mom. Four years ago, August 26, 2014, I started seminary. My mom was proud of me. I was attending school full time. My classes were on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My first class was at 8 am. My last class was at 6 pm. We had chapel services at 11 and an hour for lunch before classes began again. I remember being so excited, but tired at the same time. It was that good kind of tired because I knew I was living on purpose. I would get up at 4 in the morning and leave by 5:30 just so I avoid the traffic. I also wanted to get to school by 7 so I could be prepared. I was still working as a lawyer part time. I was in what Brueggemann would describe as orientation. I was always meditating upon Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I knew that God was ordering my steps according to Psalm 119:133 (NIV), “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”
In order for you to understand my orientation thinking, I need to go back to 2004. I had gotten lost on this school campus. I was meting a client for mediation and trying to find the building and ended up on Emory’s campus. I was frustrated. I remember hearing God say, “Calm down. Look around. One day you will attend this school.” My response to God, “Really. I am through with school.” Ten years later, I wrote about this experience in my application to Emory. God was working everything out for my good. This is why I was like the ancient Israelites and believed that life was nice and orderly or orientated.
Sunday, August 31, 2014, the day started out like any other Sunday. My sister and I went to church. After church, we took one of the elderly members home. Afterwards, we did a little shopping. We talked about family while we shopped. My sister got a phone call (I had also received a call also, but I had my phone on mute). I could see the change in her face. I could hear it in her voice. Something was not right. I could see life was about to change for us even before she said, ”Oh no.” My sister said, “Mother passed out in the church yard. They took her to the nearest hospital. They were now going to airlift her to Charleston.”
I remember thinking how could this happen? We just celebrated my mother’s birthday a month ago. I was discombobulated. Life was being disoriented. I was shaking. I still had to drive home from the store. I remember praying Romans 8:28. I remember praying Psalm 27:1-2, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” I kept saying this over and over in my head. I was praying for my mother. I was substituting what for whom in my prayer when it came to my mother’s illness. I did the same thing with Psalm 91:5-7, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” I prayed Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
We made the decision to drive the 5 1/2 hours to see our mom that day. To this day, I don’t know how we made it to Charleston. I just remember being confused and disoriented. But in the midst of this confusion, I was praying some of my favorite psalms. Those psalms reminded me to trust God to get us there safely. “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” Psalm 91:9-10, NIV. We made it to Charleston.
 Walter Brueggemann, Spirituality of the Psalms (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002).