Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand

Thursday, 15 October 2015  | Narelle - MECS Principal
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the ‘Footprints in the sand’ poem. There are many versions, but they go something like this….

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would
leave me.”

The Lord replied,
“My son, My precious child,
I love you and I would
never leave you.
During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

This certainly carries an encouraging message, and one that many in our community might need to hear. However, on the Centre Trip, I had my own footprints experience. God used an otherwise mundane moment to remind me of His great love and the importance of keeping in step with Him.

Let me paint the picture. We were camped at Tilmouth Well, which is about 110kms from Yuendumu. The more energetic members of our group had headed off on a more challenging hike up the bluff that overlooks this spectacular country. The rest of us headed up the sandy river bed to explore the surrounds and have some time for art and reflection.

Walking the sandy river bed was hard going! The sun was beating down on us and the soft sand was deep in parts. Without even planning to, a number of us fell into formation – each following in the footsteps of the person in front. This made the going a little easier. Someone before us had already compacted the sand making it a more solid and reliable foundation. All we had to do was keep up!

I was following Peter. As I followed his slightly irregular gait, and stepped into his large, firm footprints I felt more safe and confident. I trusted this man! He has been a good friend and colleague for over 20 years, he has been on the Centre Trip for nearly as many years, he has walked this path before. I know he had the safety of our group first and foremost in his mind so each of his steps had been carefully taken. All I needed to do was keep up and follow in his footprints.

You can see how God would use this moment!

Whether we are being carried by Him, or following in His footprints – it is a pretty good place to be, particularly when we are facing challenges that put us in ‘unknown territory’. We can easily be overcome with anxiety when we face new challenges. We are easily distracted by the things around us and therefore can easily lose our footing. We can easily give up when the terrain ahead looks too rough.

Instead, the practice of following in God’s footsteps brings comfort, confidence and direction.

When following in Pete’s footsteps, I know he wouldn’t have let me fall too far behind. He kept looking over his shoulder, checking up on us. It was comforting to know he was looking out for me.

His deep footprints gave me confidence. He had tested the ground and he was comfortable it was the most appropriate route for those following.

He led the way. He had walked this river bed before. He was familiar with the landscape and conditions. He knew how far we could go before stopping for a rest. We could rest easy in the direction he was taking us.

In the same way God provides comfort, confidence and direction. Trust Him!

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