Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

While this poem is not scripture, “Footprints in the Sand” does offer hope for the reader who recognizes God’s promises between the lines. However, there is scripture related to “Footprints in the Sand.” The poem seems to draw much of its inspiration from Psalms.

Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” In Psalm 77:19, it says, “Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.” Psalm 119:133 begs God to “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” In the New Testament, such as 1 Peter 2:21, the Christian is exhorted to follow in Jesus’ footsteps: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 

The promise of God carrying us in times of need can easily apply it to the challenges of daily life. In the 4th stanza, God says, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.” This is what the Lord has promised in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has fulfilled His promise to be with us all the time and keeps that promise by not only being omnipresent, but by helping Christians in the form of the Holy Spirit.

This reality should give us real, solid hope. After all, if God is unchanging, and He has told us He will never leave nor forsake us: 

  1. We never have to be afraid. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” asks Paul in Romans 8:31. What enemy is bigger, more frightening, or more powerful than God? Can there be any time in our lives so low that He is not there, sheltering us in the shadow of His Almighty protection? (Psalm 91) 
  2. We are never alone. Jesus prepared us for adversity and division. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Mathew 10:34) Christ provides the defense and companionship of His Spirit “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) 
  3. We are not strong—God is. “My grace is sufficient,” is what God said to the Apostle Paul. Paul decided to “boast in my infirmities” because, in them “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God really is carrying us even if life seems unbearably difficult. He is carrying us particularly when life is at its toughest. 
  4. We can give this hope to others. Many people find consolation in the poem “Footprints,” but their consolation is shaky if it is based on a powerless view of God who is just an energy in the universe, not Lord and not personal Savior. Christians can use this poem as a way to discuss the power of God. In Ephesians 1:19, Paul tells us “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”

It’s not healthy to spend too much time concentrating on our needs, but we can derive hope from understanding that God is closer than we imagine. If you take anything from “Footprints in the Sand,” perhaps it will be that reminder. We are weak, and God does carry us, because He is both omnipotent and omnipresent.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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