BRCLM Lagniappe, May 2017

Suffering

Suffering

by Jannean Dixon

“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

“One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,

especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,

You’d walk with me all the way.

But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,

there was only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

This poem, by Mary Stevenson, has long been one of my absolute favorites. I can look back on my life and reflect on trials and see that no, I could not have done it alone. Financial troubles, relationship problems, the illness of a child, these are all the things that can prompt us to feel scared, sad, and isolated.
When we suffer, we are reminded in a very visceral way that we are only human. When we suffer, we can build walls around ourselves to carry us, and the relationship can become one-sided. God never leaves us, but our wall can make it feel like he has. This is untrue! When we feel alone is when He is most with us.

None of us are safe from isolation and suffering. Mother Teresa herself wrote to her spiritual advisor that she felt lonely and abandoned. She felt as though God had abandoned her in the darkness.

Later, Mother Teresa wrote that she felt that her long suffering helped her to identify with Jesus and increased her understanding of those she spent her life helping. (From the book Mother Teresa: Come be My Light)

How can we turn our suffering into understanding? How can we learn from our unhappiness? How can we learn to serve God and others through our grief? Maybe we can take a page from Mother Teresa and identify with Jesus. His time on earth was spent serving others, sometimes others who felt hatred for Him. He suffered long and hard and ultimately to his death. When we think of our own suffering as helping us identify with our Savior, let us pray that it will be a comfort to us in our darkness and times of need.

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Jannean Dixon is a mother of two, special educator, and local business owner. She has a Master’s Degree from LSu. She finds that writing is therapeutic and helps her reflect and feel closer to god.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

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