My husband and I are preparing for a spiritual retreat to Iona, Scotland. In preparation, I have been reading a lot about Celtic Christianity and its impact on the British Isles and beyond. One of the main influences of the Celts on spirituality is their attentive detail to the presence of God in the world and in their lives. They prayed and sang about the presence of God in connection to everything they saw and experienced. Their unique worship blended family, work, culture, dance, song, and nature into the joy and presence of God. The church became skeptical to their devotion to the goodness of God in themselves and in creation. A revived interest and preservation of their embracement of all of God and all of His goodness in the world has brought fresh joy to the hearts of many Christians.
The Psalms are full of perceptive similes connecting nature and God. Psalm 77:16-20 is one example:
16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
I love the idea of unseen footprints that were described in this Psalm. It caused me to reflect on the unseen footprints that exist all around me as I walked through my ordinary life. I can think of many examples of times I thought I was headed a certain place but discovered God had another purpose and a slightly different path that was much better. Looking for unseen footprints enlightens my darkened thinking that limits me to considering only what is right in front of me—what I can see with my physical eyes. One of the most profound effects of sin is that our intellects have been corrupted. We are no longer able to see the goodness of God in all that we see and experience. Rather, we judge God because the world is not perfect.
I want to challenge you to ponder the unseen footprints that exist around you as you experience this day. Let them open your mind to the reality of God’s presence and purpose for the regular day that you are living right now. Think about the paths that God has made for you to even be living where you are today. How many times has He gone before you and opened and closed doors because He knows better than you what is best for your spiritual development? Look at your life from God’s perspective and recognize where unseen footprints have led you or might be taking you today.