Footprint in the Sand

Tonight, after a bad day, my daughter Cora was expressing how hard the unknown was. She wanted solid assurances and a concrete plan that what she was facing was not going to break her. She wanted a map for her whole life so she could pick the right direction and get started right now.

Have you ever felt this way?

I’m trying to be sensitive and smart. I know that as a PK (pastors kid) she is mulling over the choice of whether my faith is worth taking on as her own. So, I chose to tell her one of my God stories. The one where I demanded God to show me His plan.

I was mad about having my 5th job in 4 years turn out to be a bust, and how I was once again going to have to tell Anna that it didn’t work out. I was a baby believer just starting to trust God with more and more, and as I clamored out to Him in my car, He drew my mind to the “Footprints in the Sand” poem that hangs in my mother-in-law’s house. I’m sure you’ve seen one like it. I grew even more exasperated like He was being patronizing. I screamed, “I will follow you! Just give me a damn map!” In that instant, I felt He said, “OK,” and the picture of one footprint in the sand flashed through my mind. 

“I lead. You follow. That’s how this works.”

To be honest, I was not thrilled with that answer 14 years ago. I wanted more. More details more vision, more…control. But, God wasn’t lying. In fact, His promises on this subject are so strong and numerous that there can be no question to its validity.

Here are two of my favorites Scriptures:

“The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'” Psalm 32:8

“The Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

God giving us the best pathway (plan/map) for our lives, and promising that He will never leave us is not a bad trade for our control. However, it can be crazy hard when we often only get to see one step at a time.

I don’t know when we will get to take off these masks, or if there will be another relief package, what will happen in the stock market tomorrow, or how I can lead my family through and out of COVID. But, I am confident in one thing. My next step will be laid out for me exactly when I need it, and I will be watching for it.

We will get through this together.

In His service and at yours!

Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

5 thoughts on “Footprint in the Sand

  1. It’s so difficult for a teenager especially, to know which path is theirs,or even if there is a path.It/s very difficult to answer that question to a young person, let alone someone older, and supposedly more informed. By your own example, you are doing your best to build the trust in your child, while reaffirming your own beliefs in Christ. The solid assurance you can offer truthfully, is that the Lord is with her always, every day in every way. You can’t offer a photo or a blueprint, o a chart, but you can be truthful about what may lie ahead, rough or smooth spots, but by an unshakable belief in Jesus, the path will be made known. Glimpse by glimpse, but always leaving a bit of the path covered, but knowing in the end all paths lead to Jesus. Hard for kids to swallow, but as parents you do your best…..


  2. I will lead and you will follow. How often do we struggle with having someone to lead us do to our sin nature. Thankfully, He leads us down the path of righteousness for his namesake.


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