Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, June 6

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
—Psalm 121:8

Psalm 121 is a “song of ascents”—a festival song for pilgrims making the annual journey up to the Temple in Jerusalem—vibrant with confidence in the power and goodness of God. The Temple in ancient Israel would have been full of faithful pilgrims, going out and coming in, arriving and departing. And their song is of peace and blessing, of the Lord who “keeps” all this going and coming.

Our own lives are brimful of arriving and departing, coming in and going out. It is good to remind ourselves that God contains and “keeps” all this activity, and blesses it.

For most of my life, I have spent what sometimes seems an inordinate amount of time on airplanes: landing and taking off, arriving and departing. Years ago, I began silently to pray the Lord’s Prayer on every take-off—partly as a superstitious sort of charm against disaster, partly as an act of trust in God’s power and goodness.

Now this is a deeply-ingrained habit: automatically, as the plane taxies on the runway and the engines roar for take-off, I put down my book, close my eyes, and begin: “Our Father who art in Heaven...”

The Lord’s Prayer has, over the years, become for me a “song of ascent.”

In fact, I realized recently that its association with departure on a journey has soaked deep into my soul. In church a few Sundays ago, as the congregation stood to pray the Lord’s Prayer together, suddenly I felt we were all taking off— borne into the sky on the wings of a prayer.

Going out, and coming in. Arriving, and departing.         

God of all our journeying, you keep all our goings and comings in your hands eternally. Help us to rest in that promise, so that we know ourselves, wherever we are, to be forever secure in your possession.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.