We’ve all experienced the roller coaster of life. From the top of the mountain to the lowest point in the valley and everywhere in between, God’s promise that He will be with us always (e.g., Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Matthew 28:20) was never intended to be a guarantee that our lives would be easy or free from pain. Instead, it is a promise that God will walk with us through the most difficult times and the most difficult storms. And when things become too much for us, when we think we can no longer go on, then our Lord will do something even better.
As Mary Stevenson first wrote more than eighty years ago (in 1936):
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 only one.
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 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.”
(“Footprints in the sand,” https://www.wowzone.com/fprints.htm, © 2017 wowzone.com)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not immune from the tragedies of life. We are not spared the tears or the temptations. However, we have something this world does not have and cannot give – faith. What is faith? “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
So how do we hold to our faith? How do we keep it strong and alive? How do we run the race marked out for us so that we can declare at the end of our lives, as the Apostle Paul declared at the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV)? By keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus:
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1b-3, NIV)
When you need help keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus (we all struggle with this at least from time to time), look for Him – and find Him – in the pages of the Holy Bible. Look for Him – and find Him – in prayer. Look for Him – and find Him – in worship. The inspired and inerrant Word of God promises you that when you seek the Lord with all your heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
-- Dr. John Morris