Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One Set of Footprints

I'm sure most Christians have read the poem "Footprints in the Sand" by Mary Stevenson (copyright 1984).

Someone reminded me about that poem the other night when he said that when times got tough he would ask God to carry him for a little while until he could walk on his own again. 

Photo, "Footprints on the Beach Sand"
courtesy of foto76 at
A nice sentiment, I thought. Then, later (which is often the case when I hear people say things) I got to thinking about that. 

Why would I want to be anywhere else but resting in His arms? 

Isn't it the fact that we can't live the way He intended without His power (i.e., His Holy Spirit) giving grace and strength every moment, the sole reason why He came to pay our ransom and open the way to an intimate relationship with His Father? Why would I want to cheapen that by insisting on doing things myself? 

I'm not saying that I am folding my hands and singing Kum-Ba-Yah here. But what I am saying is that I would rather do nothing at all than do something in my own strength. 

"I am the Vine," Jesus said. "You are the branches." (John 15) He was speaking of a vital connection, a continual communion between trunk and boughs. "Without Me you can do nothing." That's pretty clear language. It's not, "Hey I think I can do photosynthesis on my own for a while, so I'll just disconnect myself from the Vine and do it on my own." Nuh-uh. It doesn't work that way. Leaves dry up, fruit rots and the branch dies. Not days or weeks later (even though the signs might take a while to show up) - immediately. The Life Source is cut off. 

Paul spoke of this idea as well when he wrote to the Galatian church: "Who has bewitched you? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now completed by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:1).

I've spoken of this idea of connectedness, of intimacy, many times before. I've warned people that it's not about how much you DO, what you've given up, what miracles you've performed in the power of God, or even how many converts you get. It's about knowing Him. Jesus said once, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom. Many will say in that day, 'Didn't we heal the sick, raise the dead... in Your name?' And I will say to them, 'Depart from Me. I never knew you.' " 

Interesting, that choice of words. Of COURSE He knows us! He knows everyone! So what's the deal?

The word "know" here is the same kind of word that is used in a marriage relationship - that level of intimacy! In order for there to be that kind of knowing, the one being "known" must open herself to be loved by her husband. Willingly. Pardon the metaphor but it's what He meant!! The "I never knew you" means "You never let Me know you the way I wanted to. You never let Me show you how passionately I love you." 

It brings a whole new meaning to the words, "We love Him because He first loved us." Doesn't it?!

I for one am getting just a little tired of feeling the sand between my toes and trying to get to my destination in my own strength. I want to be in His arms, listening to His heartbeat. I want to experience His love, to love Him in return and feel that love overflow into the lives of others who so desperately need that total acceptance, that monumental strength and gentleness, for themselves.

I'm not ashamed to say that He carries me. All the time. As the song goes, "I can't even walk without You holdin' my hand; the mountain is too high, and the valley is too wide. Down on my knees, I learned how to stand because I can't even walk without You holdin' my hand." 

When I get to those gates and I see Him face to face, I want to be able to look back and only see one set of footprints. His. 

I'll recognize them. They'll each have a big hole in them. 

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