Psalm 77:19 (ESV): 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.
This psalm is attributed to Asaph who said that he was crying out loud to God. Asaph was in great distress. He could not be comforted, and when he thought of God, he felt worse. He couldn’t sleep nor even speak because of his troubled mind and soul.
Finally, he decided to think back on the past. faithfulness of God. He asked if God would never display his love and grace again. That gave the psalmist hope. He determined to remember God’s past faithfulness and appeal to that hope.
In verse 15, Asaph remembered how God redeemed Judah and Israel by his arm. The next few verses speak of how the seas, the sky, and earth respond to God’s presence. Whether the psalmist was thinking of any specific historical event is unclear.
The last two verses of the psalm, Psalm 77:19-20, could refer to the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea. But the key fact noted by Asaph is not that the Israelites crossed on dry ground, but rather the idea, firstly, that God walked through the great waters with the Israelites, and secondly that God’s footprints were unseen.
Probably every person has, or will have, a time in their life in which stress about their circumstances and the future robs them of sleep. Our heart is so troubled by wrong that we cannot find rest or comfort.
In those times, we may question, like Asaph, if God will ever restore us. Have we somehow lost God’s favor forever? Do God’s promises of faithfulness not apply to us?
If we remind ourselves of God’s deeds in the past, we can begin to find hope.
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)
It is then we remember and are assured that God walks with his people, even though we don’t see him at the time.
The famous “Footprints in Sand” poem suggests that when there is only one set of footprints God is carrying us. That mental imagery is beautiful.
Psalm 77 does not make that promise. Rather, this psalm assures us that while we must walk through great waters, God walks with us even though we may not see his footprints.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the assurance that while your footprints may be unseen, you walk before me and with me even through the great trials of life. May I then be faithful to follow your path as you have been and always will be faithful to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.