Monday, August 07, 2006

Footprints in the Sand: Reality Check Edition

I took a couple days off posting since I was up in Seattle for the weekend visiting friends. Good times, although it seems the time part is always severely lacking. I do still plan on doing more posts on Ukraine, if that's the only reason you are sticking around, but at the moment I came across a random piece of inspiration.

This picture was courtesy of Dan Franklin (I hope he doesn't mind me "borrowing" it). It is a picture of Dan and his son Matthew on vacation. At first I just found it mildly amusing. After gazing at the picture and chuckling a bit, it was only a matter of seconds before the "Footprints in the Sand" poem popped into my head.

That poem has always been comforting, but in many ways I think it is an overly romanticized view of the relationship it so beautifully trying to portray. When the poem was read to me as a child, and even now as I reread it, it invokes a picture of myself perfectly relaxed and at peace with the world, being cuddled in Jesus loving arms as He carries me through life, knowing He is protecting me from every harm the world brings my direction.

You're probably quite frustrated with me at this point, wondering what kind of heresy I am alluding to by calling it "overly romanticized ". Hear me out as I analyze this picture from Dan's vacation, and hopefully you will see what I am getting at.

First we will look at the similarities. There are two individuals on the beach. There is a father carrying his son. There is a single set of footprints. Those are the essential aspects of the poem, but as far as imagery in concerned, the similarities stop there.

Contrastingly, in this picture Dan, the guy wearing the loud hawaiian shirt, is walking confidently, yet firmly, holding his son. His son is seemingly throwing a tantrum wiggling and squirming trying to resist his father's direction as much as possible with every passing step. All the while Dan is in perfect control of the situation, he knows the enjoyment Matthew could have while also being fully aware of, and protecting him from, the dangers he might be faced with.

Now I ask you, which one more accurately portrays your life and your relationship with God, especially when you are going through hard times? I know I definitely see more of myself in Matthew then in the idealistic imagery of the poem. Of course that would imply Dan was Jesus, but I don't think Jesus would be wearing an obnoxiously loud hawaiian shirt, more likely then not he would be sporting the white robe and red sash.

The point is, it is so easy to simply say that we are putting our lives in God's control. But how often do we still resist and struggle, throw fits and tantrums, all the while still trying to do things our way when God is trying to carry us through the hard times in our lives His way. "...I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (Isaiah 46:4) I'm learning more and more that those tantrums are simply put, a waste of energy. I'm learning, slowly, to be able to curl up in Jesus arms; listening to Him (meaning I have to actually open my Bible), talking to him through prayer, and finding encouragement through my brothers and sisters in Christ when I am going through the hard times in life. If we let God take us where He wants us to be in our lives, no matter how new and unfamiliar that terrirtory is, He will provide a life filled with satisfaction and a hope for salvation far greater then anything the world we often grasp so hard to be a part of has to offer. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19)

Hmmm...I wouldn't mind walking on the beaches in California right now with Jesus, even if Jesus was wearing a loud hawaiian shirt. (I really am sorry Dan.)

David Knepprath

Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong, I still love the poem. It is a very reassuring reminder of the comfort that Jesus can provide us with in our lives when we are following Him. And I actually really do like crazy loud hawaiian shirts. Unfortunately I live in Oregon, which has a coast, but not a "beach", at least not in my book (My book, being written in Texas, prefers warm temperatures). So the shirts are only a reminder of that, and are more depressing then anything else.


Dan Franklin said...

Loved the post. I think you are making a really good point. At the same time, I am so offended that you ripped on that poem that I am pursuing legal recourse concerning your use of my picture.
Just kidding (of course),
P.S. Just so you know, that is my SECOND loudest hawaiian shirt.

Mirranda said...

You were right, this one definitenly is inspiring. I loved reading it - an excellent metaphor.

(Oregon has a beach! You don't know what you're talking about, crazy person!)