Unseen Footprints

Chewing on Psalm 77 this morning. Don’t know the situation, but recognize something of the symptoms.

The songwriter speaks of sleepless nights when it was as if God were holding open his eyelids (v.4). Of a mind that can’t stop racing as it takes repeated inventory of all that is not going right and anticipating what else could go wrong. Of seemingly unending soul searching, “Is God still there? Has His unfailing love failed? Have His promises been forgotten? Has the deep well of grace gone dry? Will I not know His kindness again?” (v. 6b-9). So much running through the psalmist’s head as he lays in his bed at night that any attempt at prayer comes out only as mere groans (v.2-3).

Yet, by God’s enabling power, the channel changes in the midnight hour. Previews of the next disaster are replaced with re-runs of the “wonders of old.” The mighty deeds of the LORD are remembered. His past deliverance replayed. His faithful provision recounted. Every evidence of His powerful presence recalled (v.11-12). And then, the breakthrough . . .

Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.

(Psalm 77:13-14 ESV)

Yeah, sounds familiar.

But here’s what kind of grabbed me this morning–the God-breathed words that resonated deeply in my soul.

Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen.

(Psalm 77:19 ESV)

I guess God could have made the way out of Egypt easy. But He didn’t. He led His people to stand before a seemingly impassible sea as they looked over their shoulders at a fast approaching enemy. Situation bad . . . and soon to get worse. No going forward. No going back. What to think? Is God still there? They were trapped. Or so it appeared.

But the way of the Almighty was to encounter the sea and then pass through it. The path of the One who had gathered them to Himself as a flock was to lead them through great waters, though they couldn’t imagine how. And this, all accomplished with unseen footprints.

Though there was every indicator He had gone before them, yet there was no forensic evidence. His ways of working were deep. The manifestation of His power the only proof of His presence. But no visible footprints.

And so, as he lay awake, his mind racing, the songwriter has an expectation that just as He had led in the past, God would lead in the future, though there might be no empirical proof.

Such, I guess, is the walk of faith. Knowing He has. Believing He will.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

(Isaiah 43:1b-3a ESV)

Counting on unseen footprints to make plain the path forward.

By His grace. For His glory.

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