This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle. Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.
John 7:1-5 (ESV)
Jesus and His ways can be disruptive and hard. There are many times that I feel like I have no idea what He is up to or why He is moving in the direction He is moving. I often feel like there are times that my life reflects the famous (and somewhat overused) poem, “Footprints in the Sand” or “I had a Dream”. Here it is, in case you have forgotten or haven’t heard it. This version is by Margaret Fishback Powers.
One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.
When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.
“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”
My own version would change the Lord’s reply just a bit. It would go something like, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. When you saw only one set of footprints, that is when I had knocked you out and carried you. I knocked you out because you kept fighting me, trying to go a different direction than the one I was leading you in. You didn’t trust that I knew best. You wanted to figure things out on your own. You would run ahead or lag behind, not walking beside me. You would not stop trying to lead, so like a drowning victim I had to knock you out and bring you to the place where I knew you would be ready to walk along with me again.”
“When you saw only one set of footprints, that is when I had knocked you out and carried you.”
Maybe that’s just me. I like to know. I like to control. I like to figure things out and make a plan. But Jesus is hard to figure sometimes; He just doesn’t make much sense to me.
He didn’t make sense to His brothers either. There may be some solace there, but probably not. During this time of Lent I am reminded that I sometimes prefer to figure Him out, and not just trust and love Him. It is good to be reminded of that part of my heart and know that Jesus knows and understands that full well. That it is one of the many things He came to deliver me from.
Jesus, thank you for carrying me when I need to be carried. Thank you for leading me in mercy and truth. Thank you for dying and making a way to walk alongside you. You are the way, truth and life. Teach me to trust and love, not just figure you out. Amen.
There is no real activity that can help you trust Jesus more. No “trust fall” you can do from your table into the arms of Jesus. But you can pray for it. Ask the Father to give you a heart that trusts before figuring everything out. God does have a plan and purpose.
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Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia. Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work. You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.