Many years ago, I remember the first time I heard the poem “Footprints” (or “Footprints in the Sand”) and how I was struck by the imagery and by the message of the verses.
The gist of the poem is the author is reflecting on the journey of his or her life, and sees paths of footprints in the sand. At times, there are two sets of footprints. But during the lowest or most difficult parts of the journey, there is but a single set of footprints.
The author begins to question his Heavenly Father, saying in part, “I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” To which Jesus responds, “During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
A few weeks ago, I was reminded of this poem, and of its message. We were visiting family in Kansas and had the opportunity to attend the Christmas Eve service at my brother’s church. During the meditation, the pastor reminded the congregation of the prophesy in Isaiah, a prophesy that foretold the names of Jesus. From Isaiah 9:6 , “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” And from Isaiah 7:14 , “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Immanuel. God with us.
The pastor reflected that when he counsels folks who are going through a rough patch, he almost never finds himself reminding worshippers that Jesus was sent to save us. But what we as believers sometimes tend to forget is that Jesus is Immanuel. He is with us. And He has promised to never leave us.