Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
West Michigan winters can be gloomy. By early January, we’re remembering the green of last spring, the warmth of last summer, and the blazing colors of last fall. Memories of bright days can help us to endure dark ones.
Psalm 77 is set during a dark time. But the memory of brighter days keeps hope alive. The brightest memory recalls Israel’s escape from slavery in Egypt hundreds of years earlier, and especially how God cleared a path for them through the waters of the Red Sea (vv. 16-18).
But there’s something else to that memory. The psalm says, in effect, “God, in those days we saw what you were doing for us. But we didn’t see you directly. The damp seabed didn’t show your footprints. We could only see Moses and Aaron leading the way like good shepherds” (see vv. 19-20).
Well, many years later, in the person of Jesus, God took on human flesh. Jesus, the Son of God, was visible—feet, hands, and all. He left footprints. When we look at Jesus, we can see God. We see God going before us, leading the way.
The path that Jesus follows leads to the darkness of death. But he doesn’t turn aside. He is our good shepherd. He lays down his life for us. And we can see his feet, and his hands, nailed to the cross. When we see that, we know he loves us, even on the darkest days.
Jesus, in the gloom of winter, you lead the way. In the warmth of summer, you lead the way. Help us to see your footprints and to follow you every day. Amen.