One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat,
But Lord, they are too big for feet.”
“My child,” He said in somber tones,
“For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait.
“You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt.
“Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand.”
This poem was taken from rec.humor.funny on 20 February 2000. The moderator’s note reads “[Note – circulating anonymously – ed.]”. It is, of course, written as a counterpoint to the allegory Footprints in the Sand (authorship disputed).
A number of Christians that I shared this poem with have chosen to take offense, shocked at the idea that God might not be a helicopter parent who endlessly coddles us humans despite our recalcitrant selfishness.
I cannot countenance a god that is a wishing well. Endlessly begging God for favours when life becomes inconvenient requires no faith. When we see a spoiled brat we do not say, “Oh, see how much faith that child has in his parents.” We feel sorry for the child, knowing that the parents have robbed him of learning basic self-reliance, and therefore he will have a difficult life ahead.
The Greek verb “to have faith” — πιστεύω (pistevo) — is an active verb. To walk in faith is an act that requires us to face our fears, take action, and grow through the experience. We then have acquired the skills and tools to tackle the next segment of the trail of personal excellence. This is a process of incremental self-improvement under the tutelage of a master guide whose own feet have worn smooth the roughest rocks along the trail.