Psalm 77:19-20 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
This desperate Psalm of Asaph is written from a perspective of much sleepless discouragement and anguish. “I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak” (verses 3-4).
But the one thing that kept him going, that moved him to ‘sing/pray’ into what seemed to him to be empty space, where there was ‘no-one at home’, was his knowledge of his God’s faithfulness, trustworthiness, and all-powerful provision in the past.
In 2005, Sheridan Voysey published an award-winning book, “Unseen Footprints”, in which he uses the illustration of the discovery just a few years earlier of a hidden, underground arterial basin of trillions of litres of life-giving water below Western Australia’s Great Victoria Desert. He used the existence of this amazing phenomenon to show what Asaph meant by God’s ‘unseen footprints’.
Throughout this very helpful book, Voysey shows how God faithfully works out his sovereign purposes in our lives even when we are totally unaware of his presence with us! Frederick Faber wrote: “Thrice blest is he to whom is given the instinct that can tell that God is on the field when he is most invisible.”, and the Author of Hebrews wrote: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). That is exactly the sort of faith Asaph demonstrated in his Psalm.
How does our faith stack up against this definition? As we pray earnestly for our world, our nation, our neighbours, members of our family, and feel that God is not listening to our pleas, are we able to take hold of his promises, and to trust him to be working powerfully and lovingly in ways that are for our ultimate benefit, even though we cannot see or discern them?
– Bruce Christian