“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.”

by Margaret Fishback Powers
Sahara Desert, Timimoun, Western Algeria, North Africa

Okay, If you’re a living, breathing, named, and numbered human who’s spent some measure of time as a resident upon this minor planet, I’m confident you can resonate with the themes of this beautiful poem.

Footprints in the Sand is a stirring poem that gives voice to God’s unfailing love for us. I remember first hearing this poem as a young child, and I’m sure that it’s similarly inspired countless individuals worldwide since its inception.

Whether you’re a king or a pawn, nobody, I say again, nobody will live their life without times of lowliness, loneliness, emptiness, weariness, madness and sadness. Why? Well, because you and everybody close and far from you are going to die in the end. I don’t mean to sound a bit brash, but it’s the plain and obvious truth.

If you could have a chat with King David or read some of his Psalms (Book 1, Psalms 1-41; Book 2. Psalms 42-72), you’ll hear the words of a warrior and a poet crying out to God. There are psalms of praise, wisdom, thanksgiving, celebration (known as royal and Messianic psalms), and lament.

If David was to look back at his footprints in the sand, he too would’ve seen occasions with two sets and many with only one. The outstanding achievements and grandeur of his life from a shepherd boy to the king of Israel were but a taste of what Jesus Christ, the future King and prophesied Messiah, would deliver to all who faithfully believe in him.

In the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, we’re told the different ways David was instrumental in the history of uniting Israel, particularly in comparison to the short, brutal, and tumultuous reign of King Saul. Before God gave in to their demands for a king, the twelve tribes of Israel had been governed by a variety of tribal leaders called judges, Samuel being the last.

David and Goliath – 1 Samuel 17

By following the commands of God with obedience, David expanded the territory of Israel, defeated their enemies and secured peace along their fragile borders. Under King David, Israel would transform from a band of squabbling tribes living in occupied lands into a unified, powerful and advanced kingdom. We read,

14 But now your [Saul’s] kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after [like] His [God’s] own heart, and the Lord has appointed him ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.

1 Samuel 13:14

22 After He [God] had removed him [Saul], He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.

Acts 13:22

I’m not saying that King David was perfect. If you flip over the 2 Samuel 11, you’ll see that despite being elected and favoured by God, David also greatly displeased the Lord. After impregnating Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of one of his generals, Uriah the Hittite, then sent a letter to Joab, the military commander, ordering Uriah’s death.

 “Station Uriah on the front line of the fiercest battle and pull back from him, so that he may be struck and killed.” 16 So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he stationed Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died.

18 Then Joab sent a messenger and reported to David all the events of the war. 19 He ordered the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, 20 then it shall be that if the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you move against the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did a woman not throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you move against the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite also died.’

2 Samuel 11:15-21

“Station Uriah on the front line of the fiercest battle and pull back from him so that he may be struck and killed.”

As believers, Samuel gives us multiple examples of how even “a man after [God’s] heart” will have to face times of adversity, failure, haplessness, strife and derision while they walk upon this earth.

Indeed, If you have a quick or long read through David’s words in Psalm 80, you’ll see that trouble is not reserved for the foolish or the wicked. On the contrary, history attests that although our enemy is defeated, Christians have always had to contend against the “god of this world” (Satan).

Please share your own revelations in the comments section below.

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