“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to weep, a time to laugh, A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Years ago I fought a battle with cancer. At the time I was a single mom, with two young children and had a full time job. I was scared, unsure of my future, and as my treatment progressed I grew tired and weary. But, God never left my side. He was with me and also put others in my life at the very moment I needed them most. I remember one dear friend, a co-worker, coming to visit. She prayed with me, offered words of encouragement, and brought me a very special gift. It was a framed picture – a beach scene which included a poem - “Footprints.” To this very day, I still remember the peace and security I felt in knowing that God was carrying me through those trying times.
Do you ever feel that you can’t go any further? At those times all God asks is that we keep walking. He knows when to rescue us. Here is what Scripture says…
“I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.”
- Isaiah 41:13
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”
- Psalm 30:11
“He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”
- Psalm 40:2
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and
not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31
A few years ago I came across this updated version of the “Footprints” poem. I love it... enjoy!
A NEW VERSION OF “FOOTPRINTS”
Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.
For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently. You and Jesus are walking as true friends!
This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one.
This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints they have become one.
This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends.
Now you pray: "Lord, I understand the first scene with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But you walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with you."
" That is correct."
" ... And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps; followed you very closely."
"Very good. You have understood everything so far."
" ... When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like you in every way."
"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first." There is a pause as the Lord answers with a smile in his voice. "You didn't know? That was when we danced." ~ ~ ~
The original version reminded me that God is always present. Sometimes He leads me, sometimes He follows me to pick up my broken pieces, and other times He carries me. But the reason I like the newer version is, because it reminds me that He also rejoices with me. I think we all need to recognize those moments, and appreciate the times when we get to “dance with Jesus.”
It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… I got to thinking about how many opportunities we have to dance, rejoice and have fun along our faith journey. We raise our hands and move to the music in our worship services each week. We go to Christian concerts, clap our hands and dance in the aisles. My church even offers a “Faith, Fitness and Fellowship” class. What fun!
Here are some other suggestions of how you can sparkle (share your faith) as you dance with Jesus:
One of the most popular ways to interact with others and get our bodies moving is with the Wii. Why not have a “Wii love Jesus” party … invite your small group from church, youth group or some families you’d like to get to know better. Great fun & fellowship!
Put your headphones on and walk (or dance) around to some great Christian music. When you need a little break, change to some quieter tunes and continue your walk… prayerwalking around your neighborhood and community. Why not invite a friend to join you, it's twice as fun!
Why not take advantage of the beautiful days of summer (that will quickly be fading away)… organize a “Dancin’ for Jesus” block party. Invite your neighbors to bring their beach chairs, and a snack to share. Crank up the music (or invite some local Christian musicians) and dance the night away. It might just turn in to an evangelism opportunity… a chance to invite others to church, Sunday school or youth group.
Or, if you are one of those people who are blessed to have a pool in your backyard, why not have a "pool party" with dancing, of course. No, I am not suggesting synchronized swimming, but there’s nothing like dancing around the pool (or in the water) to fill a day with fun in the sun. Blast your local K-LOVE station on the radio, and don’t forget to invite Jesus and your friends to join in the dancing!
I think I’m showing my age…. gotta love those crazy “fun in the sun” movies (like Beach Blanket Bingo, Gidget goes Hawaiian, or Ride the Wild Surf)… we’re just putting a new twist on the fun! Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear how you “dance with Jesus.”
Soaking up the Son…
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver
“Delighted, they dance all day long… they can’t keep it quiet!”
- Psalm 89:16