I was never a fan of the "Footprints in the Sand" poem. It's one of those framed things in everyone's bathroom. I thought its purpose was to give you something to read while you are sitting on the toilet. Even the phrase sounded cliche to me.
A few weeks ago as I was feeling discouraged and starting to wonder if my prayers were coming back void, I made a request. I (humbly) asked the Lord to give me some "footprints in the sand" moments.
I know He is faithful. I know His plans for me don't hinge on other people. I know He doesn't hang me out to dry. Unfortunately in these past months, my feelings often won't line up with what I know to be True. I was exhausted from preaching to my unpredictable emotions. "Lord, I believe you are who you say you are. I believe your promises for me. I know you will use my current situations to bring yourself glory. Please be gracious with me as I struggle to line up the way I feel with your truth. Please give me some footprints in the sand moments. I want to look and say "A-HA! You ARE carrying me!"
Yes, my faithless eyes beg for the tangible. (Dear Israelites; I have deep empathy and am not self righteous enough to think I would have made less whiny decisions in the desert for 40 years.)
I would have loved the Lord to answer with neat and tidy sitcom resolutions to my life (at least for a couple big ones like a job and where to live). What I have received has not brought much resolution but it has opened my eyes to the One who carries me.
It started with an unexpected, surprise visit from my dear cousin Hessel who I have not seen in a few years. Few people can challenge, convict and encourage me like he can. As he has since we were young; he spoiled me, asked me hard questions, let me cry, and modeled integrity in a life surrendered to Christ. My time with him was not coincidental.
Then I had a spontaneous visit with my dear friends Shawn and Jill followed by a day with my cousin-but-really-more-like-a-sister, Sommer who is living a life quite similar to mine right now. All are people I have gone a long time without seeing; ones who have known me for life and prayed for me. I realize God has used these people to "carry" me.
Then the Lord reminded me how He creatively meets our practical needs. We were able to sell a little trailer we've had sitting next to the house. We received a couple checks "for no reason". When Sean gave back his computer to MVCTK this week, God provided money specifically for a new computer for him. Then in organizing paperwork we discovered a big check from closing out the gas at our old house. Yesterday a kind man brought us some beef and berries (ahh... love Lynden).
The temptation has been great at times to make things happen on our own. Then the Lord reminds us that He is the Provider and His best is worth waiting for...regardless of how risky or how ridiculous we might look. The time we have is not wasted. The end of April hit us hard; have we really been in this strange, in between, re-building stage for 4 months?
I'm reminded often of the Israelites' journey through the desert. God's purpose for them wasn't merely to get them from point A to point B. He designed those years to establish Himself as their God, to show them His character and their own unworthiness. They left Egypt a faithless, directionless people without identity. They arrived at the Promised Land as God's people- set apart. They were still unworthy but they knew they had been carried and more importantly, they knew who they had been carried by.