By the next evening at bedtime, however, my emotions were screaming inside my head. I felt frantic one moment and then angry, despairing, and overwhelmed in other moments. I desperately prayed to God, asking him desperate things. I wanted God to turn back the clock and rescue me, I wanted Him to just take me up to heaven, I wanted Him to show me what to do next.
God didn't say yes to any of those requests. But He brought to mind a poem I had only read one time in a gift shop, the Footprints in the Sand poem:
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish,
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
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.”
Copyright © 1984 Mary Stevenson
The authorship of the poem has been contested by several people, but I think this is the version I saw. At the time, it was printed as an anonymous author. But regardless of who wrote it, God used it powerfully. I don't memorize things easily, and yet, the poem came to my mind almost word for word perfect that night when I was seventeen.
I heard God reassuring me with the words and then the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus' words in Matthew 28:20: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Then I felt God's presence holding me until I finally feel asleep exhausted. From that day on, I've known deep in my soul that Jesus is faithful to His Promise. He is with us always. No matter how confused, stressed, or abandoned we might feel in crisis. He is Immanuel, God with us. We have a loving, eternal traveling companion who carries us whenever needed.