You all are familiar with the “Footprints in the Sand” poem, right? A man has a dream that he was walking along a beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashes scenes from his life, and most of the time there are two sets of footprints. But after the last scene ended, the man looked back on the beach and saw that sometimes there was only one set of footprints, and they happened to coincide with the very lowest and saddest times in his life. The man was understandably upset that it was at THESE dark times that the Lord seemed to abandon him.
The Lord replies to this man, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During those times…. when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
For some of us, this poem is our reality. Some of us at times have been so overwhelmed with these lowest and saddest times that we cannot even take one more step forward, and the only way we make it through each day is to be carried by God.
But at other times, our walk with the Lord may leave behind a different kind of trail in the sand.
I once found an alternative take on the footprints poem in a funny comic on Facebook…. In the first panel, God has his arm around the dreamer and says the familiar words, “…where you see one set of footprints is where I carried you.” But there is an alternative ending, where God points off in the distance and says, “Now, THAT long groove is where I DRAGGED you, kicking and screaming.”
I feel like that a lot. LIke God is dragging me to places where I don't really want to go. I don't like hospitals, but I go to hospital visits a lot. I don't like funeral homes, but I do funerals a lot. I have to will myself to go, I often find myself in my car before I go in asking God to help me get out of the car, I don't want to, but I need to...so I ask "please God, send your Holy Spirit to drag me out of this car and to the place I need to be."
And you know what, that's ok. Jesus said, "the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41) and he understood that even when we want to (like the disciples probably wanted to stay awake that night with him and pray), we often fail or need help.
So I do believe that God sometimes bumps us into places and situations we would not choose to go, but that we must. Out of our comfort zones and into the fight. Moses didn't want to face Pharoah, but God told him to go. Gideon didn't want to lead the army, but God sent him anyway. God has a way of getting us off our rear ends and into the plan one way or another.
So let's go, not kicking or screaming, but willingly. Let's say, "I will go" and not need to be dragged. After all the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7) and he wasn't just talking about money; our time and energy can be given freely to the Lord...or dragged out. I choose to give it freely.