I’ve heard a story from the mouths of men, of a stretch of sand where two sets of footprints become one – the child is carried by the Lord Jesus in the darkest times, one set of prints instead of two.
But I’ve heard other stories. Harder stories. Mightier stories.
I’ve heard of an empty stretch of beach. Millions of footprints pounding toward the surf, and millions pounding out of it on the other side of a bleak sea. The water has obliterated whatever prints were made in the middle of this track; but it seems the people of the Lord were told to cross the sea. Somehow they dared to, and somehow they made it.
Chariot tracks and military boot prints can be found this side of the water. There is no trace of them on the other.
I’ve heard of a field littered with footprints, each the size of a grown man’s. Men charging forward, churning the dirt.
And in the middle of it a smaller set of prints, also charging forward, churning the dirt. They trace around the body imprint of someone – or something – big that came crashing down onto the ground. This boy, it seems, led the people of the Lord forward, leading them on in victory.
I’ve heard of a desolate desert track. Millions of footprints leading to the east, to Babylon. These prints are worn out, faded.
But also newer, fresher footprints – millions yet coming back to the west. The people of the Lord, led by their God back home, as promised, even after all those years.
I’ve heard of a lonely hillside track. A man’s footprints, weak and uncertain, struggling under some burden. A heavy object drags behind him, gouging a track in the ground.
They tell me this man, the Lord Jesus, told his friends to do the same thing, to drag their crosses behind them too.
And that’s what they do.
And I’ve seen a stretch of beach myself – two sets of footprints walking side by side.
Suddenly the tracks stop – one companion starts writhing on the ground, throwing some sort of tantrum it seems, refusing to go on.
The other companion – the Lord Jesus – leaves a set of footprints and a butt print, both well worn, evidently from sitting down for a long time and waiting for his companion to calm down.
Then the footprints continue, as the two companions walk on, one trusting the other that he knows the way.
I’ve seen this stretch of beach myself, because I’ve walked it.