Friday, March 11, 2011

lent Series ~ Footprints

Psalm 139 speaks of the fact that
"Where can I go from your spirit, where can I flee from your presence?
It's so often that when people are going through tough times in their lives that they will feel distance from God.  At these times human emotions of anger, dispair and hurt block him out, but during these times, the Psalm reminds us:

"If I go up to the heavens, you are there (when I am happy you are with me)
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there with me (when I am sad you are with me)
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast

To many many people, both Christian and non christian, Footprints in the sand is a well know poem. It has graced many a poster, bookmark and card. The words it speaks are comforting as they speak about our walk though life with God. At times when we are coping there are two sets of footprints, ours and Gods, but at times where we go though struggles there is one set. That set belongs to God. That's when he picks us up in his arms and carries us through the tough times.
For many years no one knew the author, although many people tried to claim ownership. In the end the writer was proved to be Mary Stevenson (Zangare).
As a young girl, Mary had hand written copies of the poem to give to friends when they were going through tough times in their lives; It was sometime after this that friends of Mary saw it in print and wondered why she wasn't given credit for writing it. Solicitors told her that it would be very hard to prove her the author since it had been used by many publishers of religious materials and greeting cards. Mary wrote 'Footprints' in 1936 when she was very young and knew nothing of copyrighting. She didn't follow up her claims until in 1984 when clearing out her garage, she found an original copy and with carbon dating and other tests, Mary was officially recognised as the writer.
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."

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