Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, March 25

Your way was through the sea, your path, through the mighty waters; yet your footprints were unseen.
—Psalm 77:19

How many times have you come through a crisis, then thought back on the experience and realized that God was with you? Something like that must have happened to this psalmist who writes of how God was with him, “through the sea” and “through the mighty waters.”

In the ancient world when this psalm was written, the sea did not have the same connotation it has for us today. For ancient people, the sea represented darkness, chaos, and the unknown. Mighty waters were terrifying (as they still are for people threatened by hurricanes and tsunamis). When the psalmist writes that God’s path was through the sea and the mighty waters, he acknowledges God’s power over chaos and uncertainty.

Quite likely, the psalmist had recovered from a terrible bout of illness, despair, or fear, some experience that left him feeling nearly destroyed by overwhelming forces. But he had made it through, and as he looked back he realized that God had been with him, even though God’s “footprints were unseen.”

Maybe you are overwhelmed now, either with physical problems, emotional problems, or with a life that seems completely out of control. Psalm 77 reminds us that, invited or not, God is with us, leaving footprints that we will recognize when we look back and reflect.

God’s footprints come in many shapes and sizes: a friend who says exactly what we need to hear, a book or sermon that seems to have been written just for us, or a question someone asks us that breaks opens our hearts.

Whatever circumstances you have been through or may be in, look around. I’ll bet you will see some footprints you haven’t noticed before. Don’t be surprised if you get a lump in your throat. When you realize how near God is, it’s enough to make you cry—for joy!

Thank you, dear God, for your abiding presence with us. Open the eyes of our hearts to see you more clearly. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.