Footprints Washed Away in the Sand

Do you think G-d thinks of us as whiny?

Catherine and I were walking on the beach in Hawaii (oh, did I mention that Catherine and I got to go to Hawaii?).

There was a couple walking ahead of us; she was closer to the water than he was. Every once in a while, a wave would come up and wash away her tracks. The tracks looked funny – as if one of the walkers disappeared every now and again.

That made us think of the old “footprints in the sand story.”

You know the one, where the guy dreams that he looks back on his life, and there are footprints in the sand – his and Jesus’. He realizes that one set of footprints disappears at times, and he accuses Jesus of abandoning him during his rough years.

The Lord responds by saying, “No, those were the times I carried you.”

Looking at our Hawaii beach prints, I imagined the story shifting slightly, with me in it.

Instead of accusing, I get all misty-eyed (having seen the story on a hundred plaques through his life), and say, “Ah, look where there is only one set of prints. You must have carried me then.”

And Jesus replies, “I don’t think so, Einstein. The waves just washed away one set of prints. I never carried you. I let you lean on me, and pulled through with you, and I never left your side as you weaved like a drunken sailor, but brother you walked the whole way.”

And I gripe, “But I thought you were the nice guy that would never make me struggle if I didn’t want to!”

And Jesus would reply, “Seriously, if you want someone to carry you, first you’re going to have to lay off the donuts. And second, find a god that doesn’t care so much about you. Remember that suffering produces perseverance, which develops character, which leads to hope? You want me to deny you hope just so you can piggy back when the sand starts feeling hot on your tender little toesies? Grow up.”

Okay, he probably wouldn’t be all that snotty to me.

But he might be tempted.

Just my thoughts,



20 responses to “Footprints Washed Away in the Sand”

  1. JohnDownUnder says :

    LOL! Okay, I don’t think he’d be snotty, either. But I can totally see him saying it with a wink and a grin!

  2. Linds says :

    I want to frame this and put it up next to the huge footprints poster in our Christian high school office. But I also want to remain employed. Stupid conflict of interest.And I don’t know that it’s snotty — it seems like sarcasm worthy of our witty Lord.

  3. janet says :

    And it’s a darn good thing you’re not expecting Him to carry you — ’cause if you’re joining Writers Forum, laying off the donuts is just not gonna happen!(Btw, welcome!)A v. lovely re-interpretation of a tired pseudo-parable, Sean. Right up there w/ the one about each wave being a prayer, and finally a wave comes along that lifts the boats that were lying useless on the sand…..God knew what He was doing when He made the ocean, it would seem…

  4. Dennis says :

    That story wouldn’t look as good on a plaque, I guess. That’s why they don’t sell the poem like that. So true, though. Thanks.

  5. Don says :

    Absolute genius! Haven’t laughed as hard but as poignantly in a long time. Excellent slant on an overused and now trite tale. Keep up the good work

  6. bobbie says :

    lay off the donuts! i like your g-d! what a brilliant challenge to those really unbiblical thoughts. it’s strange how often we let nice little things influence us far deeper than real life and that bible we all claim to know and love.

  7. Alice Bass says :

    Oh man I’ve always hated Footprints. And Jesus has certainly been that snotty to me (usually in response to my snotty requests to be carried along the beach) and I love it. He’s kicked my behind out of the pit I made to lay down in quite a few times. He’s the greatest parent ever — he’d never carry me when what he knew I wanted was to walk. Thank G-d for you & your re-write. So I guess I need to thank G-d that you got to go to Hawaii. I’ll get there soon, I’m sure.

  8. Isaac, The Rookie says :

    That’s excellent; I am definitely going to send this post to some of my adult leaders for the year; “following Jesus is hard work” is something our group is going to hear a lot this year.

  9. John says :

    Found this from Jordon Cooper’s blog, and glad I did. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!

  10. E says :

    We don’t know each other, but great blog. This is my favorite poem, and it’s a great way to look at it!God bless!Feel free to check out my blog at if you ever get bored.

  11. Patmos says :

    I love it….

  12. Ricky says :

    Well done!Yeah, if I ever have to have a cheesy plaque in my bathroom or a plastic statue on my dashboard it’ll be more along the lines of “Butt-prints in the Sand” and one of those rubber dolls whose facial features pop out all at once whenever you sqeeze them, thank-you-very-much.

  13. Youthblog says :

    I’d rather have a tea towel/poster/mug with your version on it!Top stuff, made me laugh and think. Have linked to itThanks

  14. TK says :

    Hey Sean,Excellent stuff. Found you via Subversive Influence. I love the line: “Seriously, if you want someone to carry you, first you’re going to have to lay off the donuts. And second, find a god that doesn’t care so much about you” I love things that make me laugh and move me all at the same time.peace and prayers,tk

  15. Rob says :

    excellent, thats a cool reinterpretation which has an honest earthyiness to it – you can actually here Jesus saying it!

  16. Anonymous says :

    I do like it, just seems to be what Jesus would say as well. but I still like the original footprints espcially after reading how the author wrote the poem and how it came to be stolen and released into the wild.

  17. CihaPet says :

    It is a good perspective I think. Some good food for thought in there.

  18. Jacqueline says :

    As a Christian, I think this is very plausible. I agree, it would be said less “snotty” and with more of a fatherly tone of voice. God is not here to…spoon feed us. There is definitely some, “Look guys, you need to work with me here. You have to trust me to get you through this. It may not be easy, but I’m right there with you,” in the Bible. There are some things He brings us through the refining fire for, and during those times, we aren’t piggy-backing for a free ride, but more or less, He’s holding us up. Yet at the same time, I wonder if we went through the fire a little more willingly if He’d put us on His back. Then I re-examen everything I just said and think that maybe that whole back thing is not Him giving us a free ride, it’s holding us up, and giving us that famous Sam line, “I may not be able to carry the ring, but I can carry you!” Except, of course God can carry the “ring,” sometimes, though, we have to learn to let it go.

  19. Anonymous says :

    This post and these comments insinuate that we are to try as hard as we can and then Jesus picks up where we leave off. The Gospel is entirely about us brining nothing to the table and that we are in need of total rescue–Jesus does it all. Unfortunately, this idea of pulling ourselves up by our spiritual bootstraps is an echo of the heresy pelagiansim. To be fair, it’s semi-pelagianism.

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