Today, I was thinking about the Footprints in the Sand poem, and as I pondered the thought of God the Father carrying me, his daughter, I was inspired in a particular way by the meditation that followed.
As I was imaging the Lord holding me in His arms, I began to think of the different reasons a man might carry his daughter.
The first reason that came to mind was because of weariness. My family takes occasional hikes together, and, when I was little, I wouldn't be able to hike for as long as my parents. When I reached the point that I felt overcome with exhaustion, my dad would pick me up and place me on his shoulders, carrying me for the remainder of the journey. Sometimes, I feel like I am so worn out and overwhelmed, that all I can do is trust the Lord to bring me through it. When I am on the brink of collapse and don't think I can go any further, the Lord is there to carry me through the difficulties.
The second circumstance is immediate danger. Say a child is trapped in a burning house. A loving father would run into the flames and carry his daughter to safety. Just like this, I have seen instances in my life that the Lord has carried me through chaos and sin. He has rescued me at the crucial moment, saving me from the lies of Satan and the destruction of our relationship.
Lastly, a father carries his daughter merely out of love. A father picks up his beloved child and holds her in his arms to show his affection and express the love that words cannot comprehend. I have experienced this love as the Lord has showered His love upon me in times of extreme joy and peacefulness. I feel as if He is carrying me through life, and I worry about nothing, because I am wrapped in His loving embrace.
But, the Lord cannot always be carrying me.
There are those times in life when there are two sets of footprints in the sand. When God walked beside me without direct intervention.
It makes sense. If a person is always carried, their muscles will deteriorate. They won't even be able to stand on their own. We weren't made to be carried through life.
Our spiritual lives can be like a marathon. You don't wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon that day. Likewise, you do not just become a saint in a day. It takes training. It requires discipline. The Lord cannot carry us through every instance of pain or difficulty. Maybe these are crucial moments in building virtue or preparing you for something in the future. If a runner was in the middle of a run, and someone picked them up and carried them, just because they were having a tough time, that would be more harmful than helpful to the runner. If he or she is serious about their goal to run a marathon, he or she will need all the necessary training without skipping out on workouts. Any interference will only hinder their growth.
So, how can I get mad at God for not carrying me through difficulties when only He sees the big picture? How can I lament my daily challenges because I don't see the potential for growing in virtue? We are called to thank God for all things. He alone knows what will sanctify us despite our sin and weakness. And aren't we all called to be saints? (Yes!)