Invisible Tracks

Psalm 76-78

The theme for last night's session at our study was angels, how they worship and how their worship impacts us. Angels worship day and night, and it's easy for us to say: "Sure, they're angels and don't have to deal with the mess that my life is in right now. How can I be expected to praise God under these circumstances?"

I quoted Psalm 34:1 where David says: "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips." Considering that David was on the run from Saul, keeping company with the dregs of society, in the foreign land where the king also wanted to be rid of him, having to pretend he was insane to escape death, etc. etc., I'd say his attitude of continual praise was pretty significant.

Well, we might say, David was a special case. I'm not him either. This morning I read through Psalm 77. This is one of Asaph's psalms and I was impressed by his solution to the: "how-can-I-praise-God-when life's-a-disaster?" question.

Things weren't going well and the heavens were silent. God seemed to have gone on vacation. The writer wondered if he was ever going to experience God's love and favor again. So what did Asaph do?

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider your mighty deeds" —Psalm 77:11, 12. Asaph begins to recount to himself some of the past mighty acts of God, ending with this wonderful statement: "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen" (77:19).

That last phrase grabbed my attention. In the midst of miserable circumstances and events that seem beyond our control, we often wonder if God is gone. We don't see his hand at work nor can we trace his footprints in the sands of our lives.

The essence of faith continues to be believing where God can't be seen. That famous poem, Footprints, comes to mind and Asaph's words take its meaning to the next level. It's hard enough to understand the events of our lives when we can see his footprints in the sand. But to continue to believe when those tracks are invisible is faith at its finest.

For Asaph, remembering God's faithfulness in past times even when he appeared to be absent, gave him hope that in his present troubles God was equally present. He was reminded that just because he couldn't seen the tracks didn't mean that they weren't there.

It's an important reminder to all of us. If we can't praise him for the present, we can look back and praise him for the past. The water has been deep before, but just as he did before, God will carry us to the other side.

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