By Gabriela DeLorenzo
During my times of meditative prayer, I sometimes picture myself running into Jesus' arms to give Him all my troubles and ask Him to carry both me and them. The image is similar to that of the well-known poem "Footprints."
One day as I reflected on that picture, I was reminded of the many times I had carried my own children, either because they were still small and the trip was long, or because they were tired or had hurt themselves. I remembered the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment I got from carrying the little ones I loved, helping them as best I could. Often, they would wrap their arms around me, lay their head on my shoulder, and even fall asleep right there. I knew at that moment they needed me, and I was happy to do whatever I could for them.
There were times, however, when the children didn't want to be carried. Maybe they felt strong enough to continue walking or playing on their own, or maybe they just didn't want to be held at that moment. If they wiggled and squirmed too much, it became difficult to hold them, so even though sometimes I knew they still needed to be carried, I would have to put them down and let them have their way. It saddened me when my help was rejected in that way--knowing that I could help them more than they realized, but being unable to because they wouldn't let me. I remember the times they came back to me after just a few minutes, when they realized that they did need me to carry them after all, and they would then yield to being held in my arms.
How many times have I done the same thing? How many times have I run into Jesus' arms, asking for help, wanting to be carried, but soon think I can manage on my own and squirm out of His embrace? How it must sadden Him to know that He could be helping me a whole lot more, but He has to instead let me have my own way, like a difficult child, because I think I know better.
When the trials of life overwhelm me, He is right there to carry me. All I have to do is rest my head on His shoulder, wrap my arms around Him, and let Him be my strength. He won't force Himself on me, though. I must choose His help and reach up to Him.
By Mary Stevenson
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, "You promised me, Lord, that if I followed You, You would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed You most, have You not been there for me?"
The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you."
- Gabriela DeLorenzo is a member of the Family International in India. -