As we begin the Lenten Season later this month, I pray we will begin to contemplate how important it is for us to truly always be in the Lord’s presence.
Many years ago I became acquainted with a very beautiful story. You may be familiar with it also. Even if you are familiar with it, it is worth reading again and again. The author of it is unknown, and I’m not really sure it even had an original title. It is referred to as “Footprints in the Sand.” It goes like this:
“One night I dreamed I was walking along a white beach with the Lord, Suddenly across the sky flashed scenes from my life. The expanse of beach seemed to
blend with my past. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one set belonged to me, and the other belonged to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life had flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. To my astonishment I noticed that many times along the path of my
life there was only one set of footprints, and that was during the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
I questioned the Lord about it, ‘Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would always walk with me all the way. Yet I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand…why would you leave me in the times when I needed you most?’
The Lord replied, ‘My precious child, I would never leave you or forsake you- especially during the times of trial and suffering. When you see only one set
of footprints, it was then I carried you!”
Isn’t that lovely? It is so true! In the hours of our life when we need God the most, God is the closest. When I think of God’s faithfulness to us, I cannot help but think of the verse, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Jesus’ promise is simple and yet profound. He will never leave us or forsake us. As long as we seek His face, He will walk beside us in fellowship and sustaining grace. As that little parable reminds us, many times God is virtually carrying us to victory. God is closer to us than hands or feet—even our very breath! God is not very far from any one of us. Especially in our sickness or sorrow, we should turn to our ever-present Lord for strength. He will meet us in the hospital room. He will meet us in the sick bed where we lay. He will meet us in the cemetery when we mourn a loved one. He will meet us in all of our circumstances. Let your sorrow and troubles bring you to Jesus’ feet, just as sorrows and troubles brought people to Him when he walked the earth. When you are at wit’s end, turn to Christ. Give him access to your problems. Let him show you what he can do on your behalf.
What a wonderful thought this is– an ever present Savior. At those times when our strength fails us, God will carry us through to triumph.
David Livingstone once addressed a group of students at Glasgow University. When he rose to speak, he bore in his body the marks of his African struggles. Severe illnesses on nearly thirty occasions had left him gaunt and haggard. His left arm, crushed by a lion, hung limply at his side. After describing his trials and tribulations, he said, “Would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years of exile among people whose language I could not understand and whose attitude toward me was always uncertain and often hostile? It was this: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” On these words I staked everything, and they never failed.”
This is the message I choose to leave with you—a message from one who never leaves us. To God be the glory. Great things God has done, is doing, and will do.
Rev. Duane E. Andrus