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Singing Psalm 77 for signs of hidden footprints

“Can I his favor not expect?…Your footprints hidden from our view…” ~ Psalm 77:7b, 19b

Where do you begin looking for signs of God’s hidden footprints in the seasons, days, and moments of your life?

Singing Psalm 77 lends itself to attempt to answer: How do you fix your eyes on Jesus when you cannot see him with your physical eyes?

You ponder what he has done and look out for what he is doing.

Singing Psalm 77 for signs of hidden footprints in the cycle of seasons

“Did God forget to show his grace?…The LORD’s deeds I remember all…” ~ Psalm 77:9a, 11a

Seasonal hidden footprints

When certain times of year roll around, and you find that Jesus satisfies completely such that friends and food can be enjoyed without the burdensome expectation that they fully satisfy you, that’s when you sense his quiet promptings that lead you there.

“Forever has his kindness ceased? And is He from His word released?…Such questions show that I my weakness need to know.” ~ Psalm 77:8, 10a

Singing Psalm 77 reminds you to question your questioning, know your weakness, and not trust in yourself. When you hide something you thought, said, or took that wasn’t yours, the tendency is to forget it. When you get blindsided by dashed expectations that run away with you about what should and should not happen, the secret providence of the Most High leads you always for good with a firm right hand. Since he has no wrong in him, what he keeps hidden is a portion of his glory. God never lies, won’t change his promises, and is therefore worthy to be trusted to show his grace and kindness at just the right time.

When the apostle Paul said that he became all things to all men that he might win some, I think it involved a good bit of play acting just to be yourself and at the same time meet the needs of others over your own. It doesn’t mean his love is insincere or fake. On the contrary, it means that being who you really are can look different at different times when love is what defines you. Putting yourself aside is certainly a sign that God’s invisible influence is at play.

When your esteem and identity no longer come from the work you do whether paid or unpaid, but rather from the work that Jesus did for you, without a doubt you have been divinely influenced in a surprising new life trajectory.

When you give without desiring anything in return, the Kingdom of God is not far away from you.

When tough things happened, David’s men wanted to stone him. David found strength in the Lord who led him by his Holy Spirit of love not to separate himself from his men, but rather to do all he could to care for them and their families.

When you no longer want to avoid someone who has hurt you, but instead you cry out to the Lord for opportunities for friendship with that person and wait for his clear direction, the Lord’s secret ways are your guide.

The Father didn’t hoard and protect his ruling authority for himself, but shares it with the son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who hung on the cross, instead of Satan, to save you from your sins, from yourself. In the same spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ will share his ruling authority with the lowly sheep, who were deaf to him, but now hear his voice. His hidden footprints prompt you to open the door to him in every room of your house; you eat with him at each and every meal and share a seat with him on his throne. For a glimpse of the sense of this union:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” ~ Revelation 3:20

“I’ll ponder all that you have doneAnd weigh Your mighty acts, each one.O God, Your ways most holy are.    What god can with our God compare?” ~ Psalm 77:12-13

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” ~ Revelation 21:22

You can use your heart, mind, and body to intentionally magnify, worship, and express God’s infinite value as you are in synch with his silent whispers. His gentle nudgings move you to rearrange your work so that it gets done in six days instead of seven. This looks different for each season, but as an image bearer, you reserve the first day of each week as holy unto the Lord, devoting yourself to him in worship, rest, ministry of the word, and acts of mercy, breaking from regular work and activities as part of his new creation.

“You are always in a temple. Always worship.” ~ John Piper

When you grasp what is wrong with asking God why he hasn’t given you what you want when he has given you himself, his hidden footprints are at play to satisfy you without giving you one more thing. You wonder how it has taken you so long to realize that he is what you want. Having him changes your sense of the comparative value of everything and everyone else.

When you sense the Holy Spirit activating your conscience, you are being led by his stealthy promptings to supernaturally save you from yourself, from your sinful, self-serving ways in light of the cross of Christ. He roots the Haman, the devil, out of you— concerned for your own glory, taking pleasure in your lust and self-interest— and replaces him with the Lord Jesus, to whom Mordecai was pointing when he received glory and used it to speak peace and look out for the interests of God’s people. God’s hidden footprints are behind the light that shines to bring every secret thing out in the open. And when the darkness in you is exposed, and you see clearly the eternal death from which Jesus saved you, you recognize his invisible power, despise and renounce your lusts and self-interest, and rejoice in your king, the Lord Jesus Christ. You marvel that he shares his glory with you!

It is only when you sense hidden footprints before you that lead your way and beckon you to follow, that you desire to express to God the immeasurable value you hold for him.

Weather changes, lightning, thunder, wind, and precipitation are perfect indicators of God’s hidden footprints that signal that he is big and you are small. This is a comfort because he is large not only in power but in love. When songs like “You’ve Got a Friend” bring to mind none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s a sure sign that his silent clues are leading your mind to perceive the truth about his going before you in “winter, spring, summer, or fall” wherever you are.

You sing Psalm 77 toward an intimate affection for God who is Father, Son, and Spirit, toward an intentional emotional connection with him where he becomes your heart’s desire. His hidden footprints lead you to engage in the moment-by-moment process of learning him, trusting him, and following him.

Singing Psalm 77 for signs of hidden footprints in the rhythm of days

The consistent cadence of day and night, light and darkness every 24 hours reminds you of his hidden footprints that bring you from point to point, from task to task, from rest to waking.

Daily hidden footprints

When hearing “Because of You” affectionately calls to mind our bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, you know his hidden footprints are present with you at each sunrise and sunset as he ushers in the day and closes it down for the night.

Not just at the end of the day, but all through the day, you are open to changes in plans, you can pivot and flex according to the needs around you, and what stewarding the Lord would have you do with his time, talents, and resources that he has given you, is a clear sign that it is his secret whispers that charge and keep you going.

When you find yourself sharing secrets of success with others, purposely not keeping them close to your chest for fear that someone might surpass you, but genuinely look forward to their being blessed by them and actually wanting them to surpass you, you know the Lord’s invisible transformative work is operating in you.

When you realize it is not merely food that keeps you alive, and it is not merely clothes that keep you clothed, you know the Lord’s promptings are not far behind you leading you to life that is more important than food and to clothing yourself with Christ before you put on any other thing each day.

“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” ~ Matthew 6:25b

When food is misused as a source of comfort, the barometer of hunger and fullness becomes broken. When you can sense your hunger, the Lord is beckoning you to eat with him. No longer ignoring his call, no longer wanting to eat by yourself, you wait to be satisfied by not only the food, but by the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ every time you sit down to a balanced plate provided by him in wisdom and in love.

When you are able to release your own desires each day, putting aside your personal preferences for the sake of loving God and others, without a doubt, his secret touch is what gets you there.

Perhaps your strong preference is for close family relationships and close friends. But perhaps the Lord had you getting on a bus every day at a very young age going away from your family and going to people who did not know you or care to know you. With the exception of maybe a grandmother or a cousin or two, you lament that your family relationships and friendships were distant at best.

As you look back now, you can see how the Lord used every relational challenge to help you to find him, the best friend that you or anyone could ever have. What you once despised you now praise God for: his hidden footprints in every bit of pain and suffering that he sovereignly used to bring you to himself.

Whatever your particulars are, be certain that they are not just happenstance, but that God is using those very thorns to bring you more joy than you can fathom.

How can you trust that the sharpest, deepest thorns in your life are placed at the starting line where hidden footprints are leading you to unspeakable joys and pleasures at the finish line?

“Deep seas shook when You came in view…Great waters formed a path for You…” ~ Psalm 77:16b, 19a

Read about how Joni Eareckson Tada was led through suffering to joy by the Lord’s hidden footprints.

When you can sidestep the artificial easy for what is messy but real, you listen for and follow the irresistible voice of your Lord through every dark trial all the way home.

“My restless soul all through the night.    No comfort found in coming light.” ~ Psalm 77:2b

Singing Psalm 77 for signs of hidden footprints in your moment-by-moment living

Each breath that follows the one before it, each beat of your heart, each thing your eyes take in, your ears hear, your mouth tastes, your nose smells, and your body feels points to God’s hidden footprints as he carries you through your life each moment. You function as God’s image bearer made in his likeness.

Constant hidden footprints

‘I sought the Lord, I was distressed,    I gave my outstretched hands no rest.” ~ Psalm 77:2a

Singing Psalm 77 highlights a father and son (Jacob and Joseph), and brothers (Moses and Aaron) who were led by the Lord’s hidden footprints through many winding turns. As you read through the entirety of God’s word, you will find many others that were also led by the Lord’s invisible hand. You might take note of who they are, and think about how you can learn to recognize the Lord’s hidden footprints in your own life that you also would strive to live moment-by-moment by faith and not by sight.

It is this understanding that gets you through. Whatever physical trials, whatever emotional beatings, whatever mental strain you must endure, you perceive it as light and momentary suffering that cannot be compared with the glory that you will experience on the other side of eternity, the much, much, much, longer side.

When you sing, “Can’t Breathe Without You” in earnest to the Lord Jesus Christ knowing that he alone has worked out all your issues and still wants to be with you, you are fully aware that it is only his hidden presence that accompanies each breath.

Most profound is when the one you think you can’t breathe without walks out of your life, and you are still breathing, that you embrace the one who sustains you whose hidden footprints were on your path guiding you all along.

Your relationships are centered on what you can give, no longer hoping for someone else to complete you and help you to feel good about life because the genuine love of the Lord Jesus Christ, completely completes you. This frees you up to enjoy your spouse and/or friends, your family, as you are ever grateful for them, and most of all for the presence of your God, the great three-in-one, there with you always. Whether you are alone or with others, you are never lonely. This is the greatest sign that God’s hidden footprints are in your midst.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?Even these may forget,    yet I will not forget you.” ~ Isaiah 49:15

In those moments when you get a tinge of fright and wonder if perhaps the Lord might have forgotten you, you begin to look for his invisible guidance with eyes of faith. The footprints that are seen are temporary. The footprints hidden are eternal. After they have made their presence known a few times, you remember they are there as the greatest gift ever given. Taking that in, you are careful to never forget them and to always walk in them.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he [Jesus] walked.” ~ 1 John 2:4-6

Your footsteps shift from blazing a new path, independent, trying to earn the air you breathe, desperately needing to prove you are worthy to be alive. Following his hidden footprints shunts you off the hamster wheel. Each task you do is actually an act of worship and praise to the one who prepared each task for you to do in the first place. You go from shackles to peace when his secret path is revealed, diverting you from habitual, tired, and worn out paths.

By faith, you see his hidden footprints and hear him whisper to you, “This is the way, walk in it.” And one day, his secret unraveling will lead you where you do not want to go through physical death but then into eternal life which will turn your faith in a flash into sight that you could only dream about before but could never quite fully imagine. Speechless, you fall down with your heart filled no longer with venom and bitterness but rather with praise, thanks, and joy for understanding his hidden footprints in the seasons, days, and moments of your life that led you to such a great salvation.

Father, thank you for your hidden footprints that mark your presence with your people in every season, day, and moment of both our rejoicing and our weeping. Bless you that you hear and act to bless!

“My voice to God, aloud I plead!    My voice to God, He will me heed!” ~ Psalm 77:1

December 1-8, 2023


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