that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The years when you have seen only one set of footprints,
my child, is when I carried you.”
But what happens when there are no footprints?
Just recently, during a particularly troubling day, I came across Psalm 77, a sort of biblical version of “Footprints in the Sand” I guess.
The Psalmist begins the poem in anguish, “I cry aloud to God…In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord”. He goes on to talk about sleepless nights, waning faith, being spurned by the Lord and the inability to see His steadfast love or find His compassionate care.
Yet in the writer's anguish, there is a sense of familiar assurance, “I cry aloud to God…and He will hear me.”
How can the Psalmist know that the Lord will hear him? How can he know that God will be with him during this anguish? How can he know that God will carry him if need be? How can you and I know?
Verse 10. “I will appeal to this…I will remember the deeds of the Lord.”
Instead of looking around at his own circumstances and trying to formulate a theology of God based on situational emotion, the Psalmist searches the archives and checks God’s record of faithfulness.
“I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds…You are the God who works wonders.”
Then the Psalmist says something at the end of verse 19 that is both frightening and profound, “…yet Your footprints were unseen.”
No calm beach, no pristine sunset, no gentle lapping waves, no peaceful puffy white clouds and no footprints—not two sets—not even one set.
1. When I cannot see God's faithfulness in my immediate circumstances I have an archive of His faithfulness to look back on. His record is spotless, His faithfulness is perfect.
2. God generally prefers to take us through the stormy sea rather than around it or beside it. It reveals more of my helplessness and more of His glory; more of my dependence and more of His strength. It also prepares me with a stronger testimony of His deliverance to share with others.
3. The absence of footprints does not mean God was missing during my trials or that He didn’t carry me. It only means that He is so much greater than all my obstacles, all my problems, all my circumstances that He can carry it all and not leave a single footprint.