I have been a Jesus follower for a long time and I have experienced the ups and downs of life in Christ. What I have discovered about the ups and downs is that most are the result of my feelings going up and down. There are times when I FEEL close to God, and times when I FEEL like He is far, far away. These ups and downs are not exclusive to me but rather are a common Christian experience. This poem written in 1936 has been overdone but it so vividly portrays the emotional cycles that cause us to misinterpret the presence of God in our life that I’m going to include it in this blog.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
Mary Stevenson, 1936
Our feelings cause us to misinterpret the facts. But we don’t have to be driven by our feelings. We can be driven by faith. We can let the engine pull the caboose. Even during those times when God seems distant, we can by faith know He is there.
Regardless of how you FEEL I encourage you to cling to God’s presence.
Regardless of how you FEEL I encourage you to rejoice in what God has done.
Regardless of how you FEEL I encourage you to cling to God’s goodness.
David gives us a great example to follow: “But I trust in your unfailing love, My heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”
The life God has designed for us is to live continually in His presence. And we do regardless of how we feel!