I wear a lot of hats.
I bet you do, too. After all, you are an entrepreneur. Even if you’re a master at outsourcing, there are a lot of parts to running a business–and then there are your Big Rocks. You know, the ones that you need to put in the jar first–spouse, kids, friends, time with God, time for yourself, time to remember that you’re not just an entrprenuer.
Maybe you’re good at that. I’m not very good at it.
Sometimes I get lost in all of my hats. I start to worry: where is the path? Which thing should I focus on first? How do I solve this difficult problem, or face that overwhelming circumstance?
One of my roles in life is Pastor’s Wife. I don’t feel like I very conventional pastor’s wife, though I do play the piano, so there you go.
I meet with people sometimes, people who are hurting, who are struggling, who can’t see their way clear of what God is bringing them through. Sometimes I meet with people who are working through a passage of Scripture, and that was the case yesterday.
I met with a friend who is working on her counseling degree, and we dug deep into Psalm 77. The Psalm starts with hope in the midst of distress:
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
He is clearly suffering, and he cries out,
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion? (77:9)
Have you ever been there? Maybe it’s in dealing with a part of your business, a difficult client, a stress over money or direction. Maybe it is when you are struggling with health, finances, or the burdens of someone you love. You cry out to God, and you start to wonder whether he cares at all.
I really appreciate the next part of the psalm, because the author doesn’t just start looking back at his own life, looking for times when God helped him. Now, sometimes when things are hard, that’s a great thing to do. But the author of this Psalm steps back even further:
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old. (77:11)
And then he starts reflecting.
It’s not on his own life. It’s on God’s faithfulness to his people in general.
In other words, he takes a step back and looks at the entire story of redemptive history. He lands on a specific reflection on God’s faithfulness in delivering his people from Egypt:
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
I really love this.
The path was hidden. His footprints are unseen, yet he makes a way through the sea for his people, and he leads them on this hidden path like a shepherd leads his flock.
The reality is that sometimes the way is not clear–all we see is a sea stretched out before us. Sometimes God provides a boat and strengthens us to row it, like he did with his disciples. Sometimes he grabs hold of us and lifts us above the water himself, like he did with Peter. And sometimes he opens up a path right through it, hidden footprints and all, and simply asks that we follow him.
Whatever we may be facing, this Psalm gives two clear directives: first, when we are faced with struggle, we will be strengthened if we stand back and consider God’s faithfulness across redemptive hisitory. He is a God who delivers. He is Emmanuel, God with us. The Cross stands at the center of history, an eternal testament to the fact that God not only hears, but he acts sacrificially on our behalf.
And second, it points us to Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who not only leads us on sometimes-hidden paths, but who laid down his very life for us. The one who leads us is not simply our example–he is our Savior. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
So whether you’re facing something insurmountable or are simply questioning which is the best path to take, turn to Jesus. Spend time in prayer. Reflect on his goodness, spelled out in bold letters across the history of redemption. Bank your life on his Word.
And let’s pray for one another, okay? Because we need contiunal reminders to fix our eyes on the one who is beautifully directing all things.