Why is it that when we need someone the most, they seem to disappear? Is it because we need more than they can give? Is it because we need more than we communicate, and they don’t pick up on the silent cues? Is it because we don’t really matter to them?
Or could it be that we’re asking the wrong person to help?
If we could watch a replay of our lives and our most critical times of need, who would be there by our side? Family? Friends? Strangers who were like good Samaritans? What about God?
Would God be there?
Sometimes it feels like even He has abandoned us. We don’t see Him. We don’t hear Him. We don’t feel His presence. We’re crying out but there’s no answer. If God loves us, where is He?
It makes me think of the story by an anonymous author called Footprints.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it. “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
In our darkest times, we are not alone. God is carrying us through. When our burdens begin to crush us, He’s there supporting the weight. When we feel like we can’t hold on any longer, God’s hands are below us ready to break the fall.
We can’t always see, hear or feel God because often we cut Him off. We shut Him out. We turn away. We turn to others. We doubt. We’re blinded by fear. We spin in the crazy cycles of life. We begin to sink in turmoil or crisis.
But if we turn to Jesus, we are not on sinking sand. We’re standing on the immovable Rock of salvation. So no matter how hard the storms of life blow, we will not be shaken. If we put our trust in God and put our life in His hands, He will protect us and provide for us. Always.
Looking back at the replay of our lives, we’ll all have times of darkness, loneliness, hardship and crisis. In those times, we’ll see just one set of footprints in the sand. And we’ll know that God carried us through.
And if we’ll let Him, God can use us to help carry someone else in their time of need.
If you have a friend who’s struggling today, think of how you can serve them. Some of the smallest acts of kindness can have huge impact. Be a shoulder they can cry on. Bring them a special treat (like peppermint mocha available any time of year) and just listen as they talk. Smile and encourage them. Help them to laugh again. Pray over them. Do errands or tasks around the house that seem overwhelming to them.
We can be the hands and feet of Jesus if we allow Him to work through us to help others.
“I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 (GNT)
May I pray?
Lord, there are times we feel completely alone, and often it’s during our biggest struggles. Thank You for always being by our side. Thank You for carrying us when we’re too weary to walk on our own. In those times, help us to turn to You. Help us to see You, hear You and feel Your presence. We need reassurance that You’re with us. May we trust in You knowing that You will never leave us. Ever. And today, if we know of a sister in need, may You work through us to help carry her. Amen.
Q4U: What can you do to help a friend today?
As I read this, I am reminded of a verse I memorized so I can remember God’s presence in my life. It is similar to the one quoted above, but it give me a little more encouragement. It is Deuteronomy 31:8, and it says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I have had several times of discouragement in my life when I feel that everyone and everything is against me. I wish I could say that I remembered the promise in this verse when it happened, but I am getting better each time those times occur. I may not know how I’m going to get out of those situations, but I know that God will be there and will never leave me no matter how hard it may become.