Faces on Faith: Holiday highs, lows
So, I wonder if we have come down from what I call the “Holiday High”? I would guess that for many of us, it is traditional to host festive gatherings, travel to visit family, attend special holiday events, and help with our favorite charitable organizations. Add in the time we take to shop for just the right gifts, and we might need to slow down and take a deep breath. Even with all that is on our plate we still experience a sense of love, joy and peace.
I realize that for some this was not a time filled with good feelings. While others were rejoicing, many were dealing with a sense of loss which darkened what might have been brighter days.
With the arrival of the new year and a new decade, one of the questions that comes to mind is this: Do I believe that my better days are ahead or behind me? If we base our answer on how we feel, the future may not look bright. Recently I was reminded of a prose (whose authorship is unclear) that has always given me hope. It is entitled “Footprints in the Sand.”
One night I had a dream …
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.
The author of Hebrews was inspired to write a letter of hope to first century Christians who were experiencing the highs and lows of life. Many were disillusioned and had stopped worshiping their Lord. I would suggest you read the entire letter but one of the verses that stands out is Chapter 13 verse 8,” Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “
As we ring in the New Year, I encourage us to hold on to the faith we profess. Jesus is not a feeling, but the One we can count on no matter what life brings our way. With His abiding presence, better days are ahead.
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.