Flags Atop Mount Everest: Spiritual Markers From Psalm 77
Below is a picture of the very first page in my Bible. It was gifted to me on my fifteenth birthday. On this, the very first, white, blank space to write, I made a grid and started charting out times in my life; times when important things happened. I labeled this grid “Spiritual Markers.”
I didn’t do this out my own spiritual creativity. A beloved teacher of mine taught me about this practice. I didn’t know at the time that this was something that King David did too. He talks about this in Psalm 77:
“I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.
I will meditate on all Thy work,
And muse on Thy deeds.
Thy way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?”
I’m sure we can all tell that, by Psalm 77, David has been through a lot. Let’s face it: we all have our own share of pleasant and difficult things that happen in life, but David’s lot takes the cake. 1st and 2nd Samuel shows us a better picture of what all David walks through in his life:
He goes from a isolated shepherd boy... to a hero of his country….to a young man who is running away from the most powerful man is Israel…. to hiding by pretending to be insane...to king of all of Israel who reigns in glory...to a murderer salvaging an affair...to a dad that looses his son... to a refugee fleeing another son who wants him dead... and so on and so forth…
I think this is why David is such a popular guy from the Bible. He knows what it is like to have the good and the bad. This is why we can listen to him through the Psalms talk about things like praising God, sorrow, grief, and joy. We can relate to him.
Here in Psalms 77, David is crying to God. At one point he says “I am so troubled that I cannot speak.” So what does David do when his “soul refuses to be comforted” (verse 2)?
David tells us in the verses mentioned above (verses 11-13). David “remembers” God’s deeds. He “meditates” on God’s works. He “muses” on God’s deeds.
I don’t always do what David did. David runs to the character of God and hides there like it’s a cave shielding him from a storm. Once he is there he sees the truth. The truth is this:
God is great and His way is holy.
There is no one like Him.
He is strong and works wonders. (verses 13-14)
If I keep my eyes on my own trouble, I forget the power of God that preserves me. When I lift my eyes to God, remembering who He is and what He has done, then I’m not afraid of the storms any more. I am not troubled because I trust God.
Do you ever feel like it’s hard to take that step (that step that feels like it’s going to take you over the edge of the Grand Canyon) and trust God? To see the truth of who and what God is? To truly trust and lean into the character of God?
God, knows this is hard for us (occasionally...sometimes….always). He knew we would have obstacles to trusting him:
- Perhaps my parents and the people around me aren't trustworthy; so I think, “How can God be trusted?”
- Perhaps, things in my life didn’t work out like I expected them to?
- Perhaps I’m having a crappy day?
- Perhaps there are scary things that take over my thought life?
Despite obstacles, I have learned this: God is kind, and he isn’t moved by our circumstances like we are. He uses David to show us how to trust Him. God doesn't make us do this mammoth feat on our own. He teaches us how to trust Him and that He is trustworthy.
This is what David is doing in Psalm 77. He is helping himself trust God by recounting how and when God has been trustworthy in the past. David is taking his eyes and putting them back on God by remembering, meditating, and musing on what God has done.
What If I don’t know how to start trusting God?
Start where David did. “Thou hast by Thy power redeemed Thy people” (verse 15). David is talking about the accounts of God’s lovingkindess that are recorded in the Old Testament (although, it wasn’t quite so old to David :). We can always open our Bible’s and meet the God who accomplishes great feats of faithfulness.
One place I like to open my Bible to is Joshua chapter 4. Here we see God work a miracle, and by doing so; He redeems Israel. God also teaches Israel how to remember this event so that they would be able to trust Him in the future. You can read it yourself, and I’ll also sum it up:
God dries up the river Jordan so that Israel can cross into the promised land. This is a miracle that God accomplishes in order to redeem Israel and bless her by placing her in a land flowing with milk and honey. God tells Israel to take 12 huge stones, from the middle of the Jordan mind you, and place them in the camp as a “sign” or a memorial stone (I called it spiritual markers in my Bible), so that they and their children can remember God and what He did for them that day.
This is what that very first page in my Bible is all about. It’s me taking the stones out of the river Jordan and placing them in my camp (or my Bible.) It’s about recording God’s miraculous intervention in my life. It’s about me having a place that coaches me to trust God.
On that page I can remember what God has done for me. I can meditate on the lessons that he has taught me. I can muse about the things he has freed me from. These are the miracles that God has worked in my life. These are the “valleys of shadow and death” that God has brought me through. These are the mountain top of joy that I have experienced.
These spiritual markers are like flags hung across the top of Mount Everest. They whip in the snapping winds of this world’s circumstances as evidence of a great feat. God’s great feats. They are bright and colorful against the blinding white snow. They stand out to remind me to TRUST in the Lord my God, for:
God is great and His way is holy.
There is no one like Him.
He is strong and works wonders (verses 13-14).
Hannah Michael Wolfkill Snyder has always loved all of her names (yes, each one is on her passport!). However, the name she loves the most is Jesus. Jesus taught her how to play in the throne room of Heaven and sit in the lap of God the Father. This is her identity, where her heart loves to abide (even if her hands and feet are busy on earth running a household or meeting up with people). Because of her joy in the Father, her heart’s desire is to show women their God given identity in the kingdom of Heaven. You can find her on Instagram.