The Old Testament prophet Isaiah in ch.30 v 21 says “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying – 'this is the way walk ye in it'.”
As you and I walk through life we are leaving 'footprints' they mark out the way we have walked, the direction we took and they help or hinder other walkers. In his poem 'A psalm of life' Henry W Longfellow wrote ;
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
Not often do I take issue with such worthies as Longfellow, however I do so here, for the bible makes it clear that we are incapable of changing our lives but the good news is that God can. Sublime means, 'of spiritual value'. This is the 'sublime life' which the Lord Jesus Christ gives to all who turn to Him believe on Him and follow in His 'footprints'. This is indeed a virtuous, significant worthwhile life. Having so recently bid farewell to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth much has been written and will yet be written about her legacy – the Footprints she has left behind, from which many will benefit.
In this article I want you to think, with me, of three men who left significant Footprints, two obviously had heard that voice which said 'walk this way' the third not only said those words but demonstrated, as no other could, just how to walk. You will have heard of them.
Milton lived in the 16 hundreds, he inherited his fathers love of music and of books. He was a keen student who often stayed up late reading by candlelight, this led to tired eyes and headaches resulting in total blindness in his early forties. Yet this remarkable man left a large Footprint. You will know that he wrote 'Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained'. Early in life he had clearly heard that voice of which Isaiah spoke and the Lord God changed his life and showed him the 'way to go'. For at a young age he was writing Christian hymns and at age 15 became the youngest contributor to any hymn book. One of his hymns which you may know is :
Let us with a gladsome mind, Praise the Lord for he is kind,
For his mercies shall endure, Ever faithful ever sure.
Many have been helped and blest by Milton's Footprint, all because he listened to that voice which said “ this is the way” and what a remarkable, sublime life he lived? I wonder if you have heard that voice which Milton heard ? Whose footprint are you following?
One hundred years after Milton came John Newton, he went to sea at a very young age. He became a tough sailor who had a way with words
and composed witty and interesting lyrics but his language was foul and
the lyrics unprintable. Yet a day came when he heard 'that voice' he was changed by God's grace, was converted and went on to pen a great number of Christian hymns many of which are regularly sung even today. It was he who wrote 'Amazing grace how sweet the sound', which you must have heard. A favourite of mine which he wrote is 'How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believers ear'. Newton left quite a large 'footprint'. Both these men, though from very different backgrounds lived well, walked well and have left worthwhile, helpful footprints. Both had heard, listened to and obeyed that voice which called them to the right way. I wonder dear reader have you heard that call, seen the footprint, and are you walking in the right direction ? Have you considered what kind of footprint you are leaving behind?
They are just two men who listened to the voice of God, then walked in the way the Lord God directed.
Jesus of Nazareth
This man Jesus left the greatest 'footprint' ever made upon human history. Though he lived over 2000 years ago, still today he is revered and worshipped by multitudes all over the world. Sadly there are those who just refuse to accept that he ever existed.
Before he was born an angel told his mother that he would be called the Son of God. A prophet of his day seeing him said “behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, made crippled people walk and raised the dead. He was crucified on a Roman cross. Yet, what a 'footprint'? Do take time to read of him in the four gospels of the New Testament in the bible.
The Lord Jesus Christ
Up to now we have been speaking in the past tense of 'footprints' made and from which we can learn and benefit. However, the Jesus of the last paragraph rose from the dead, is alive and continues today, to walk with all those who have responded to that voice telling them “ this is the way, walk ye in it”. Many songs have been written about human 'footprints' but
now we encounter Divine Footprints.
The angels announcement that Jesus should be called the Son of God proved true and the Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal one who today calls you to follow him, to walk his way. He said plainly “I am the way.” St.John 14 v6. He also said “ he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness , but shall have the light of life”. In the bible he is often called the Good Shepherd and he said “ My sheep hear my voice and they follow me”. He also said “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish”. Do read it in St.John ch 10. His 'way' is indeed a Sublime way, it leads to an eternity with him in Heaven.
It is not an easy way, for he said that the world would hate his followers. Still today Christians find themselves swimming against the tide of this worlds thinking and many are persecuted. Yet he never leaves those who follow him but gives daily joy and peace to those who trust Him. No wonder Christians sing :
'Oh! Let me see Thy Footmarks and in them plant mine own'.
As you read this my prayer is that you will hear that inward voice which calls you to turn from your way, believe and trust in Jesus Christ the only Saviour, then follow His Footprints and your life can be Sublime. Start now today and leave a footprint which will be a blessing to others.