5:45am!?…My eyes pop open and I see a glimmer of daylight peeping in my window. Ugh, I groan inwardly. It’s Saturday. I can sleep in until 7am. I try to go back to sleep. Nope. Not happening. So, I crawl out of bed. Go through the morning rituals of trying to way up, then head for the kitchen.
I turn on the coffee maker and walk over to peer out the window. It’s barely light outside. Stepping out the back door for some fresh air, I’m assaulted with a barrage of nature greeting the early morning. The air is crisp for an April morning. I can see my breath. In the distance I hear the honk of geese as they head for their spring destination, where ever it may be, north, south…I don’t know. Dogs barking echo through the woods. Birds are breaking out in cacophonous songs. An early morning motorcyclist zooms down the country road beside my house. I wonder where he’s off to at this time of day.
I stand peering up at the sky. I start my morning prayer with a lament. “Lord, why on earth am I up so early this morning? What do you have in store for me today?” I continue peering up at the sky. The clouds from the evening rains are beginning to dissipate. To the west, they are still a dark ominous gray. Directly above me, they are just the plain blah gray of an overcast day. But to the east…oh it is glorious! Tones of pink, mauve and yellow paint the morning horizon with a canvass of promise as the sun begins to rise. I can see bits of bright blue peeking through. Then I see it! The perfect imprint of a sneaker stamped in a brilliant white cloud. I can see the rippled lines of the heel print as it gently curves to form the instep. I stand there and watch the cloud change shape until I only see the heel print. As I watch I hear the whisperings of grace and immediately the “Footprints” poem comes to mind.
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.” By Margaret Fishback Powers, 1964*
I took the morning experience to a gently reminder of God’s promise in Joshua 1:9 (ESV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”