This weekend, I attended a beach retreat. As one is wont to do on such an occasion I was drawn outside to the ocean front to have some sort of soulful encounter with the Lord. The problem was it was crazy windy. As I hastily beat a retreat back to the beach house I noticed my footprints.
Most of us are familiar with the Footprints in the Sand poem.
“The Lord replied, ‘The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.'”
I don’t quite agree with this picture. The Jesus I know isn’t going to carry me. I don’t think I would see one set of prints on the beach, rather two sets of buttprints.
I imagine that when life gets too burdensome to keep on going I sit down, weighed down too heavily to move. My head would be buried in the sand and I would hide my face. I would be consumed with thoughts of bitterness and stew over the injustices dealt to me. If I can only lift up my face, I would see Jesus sitting quietly next to me, waiting to talk.
We would get up, start walking away, and then I would make some sort of awkward comment about our butt prints in the sand, me and Jesus. (And of course Jesus would be really gracious, he wouldn’t mind if I pointed out that he has the perfect body mass index. Just enough to make everyone feel comfortable and unintimidated.)
It can be easy to hope that he will carry us in times of struggle, deep weariness and strife. That He would lift us up to conquer! Or pull us out of our current situation. We would be magnificent in our striving and righteousness would shine out of our you know wheres.
Jesus has not come to bring us glory. We’re here to glorify him. And just like the world’s best friend, in times of need he’s sitting right there with us, on call.
John Piper says “God is never content to give us the protection of his fire; he will give us the pleasure of his presence.”
We can run screaming from his sovereign throne, but when we fall on our faces and turn over, he’ll be right there next to us. Strong and trustworthy is our God. Full of love and great at showing up.