Do Footprints Ever Really Disappear?
February 15, 2017 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Theology
The tradecraft of tracking has always fascinated me. I’m not talking about when I was a tot and tracked mud into the house while the thermal waves of reprimands bellowing from my mom’s Scots-Irish throat would have made Nebuchadnezzar’s oven seem like the South Pole. What I mean is that uncanny ability to track an animal or human by interpreting the unintended traces they leave behind.
You’re familiar with the stereotypical American Indian scout who can see a pine needle missing from an evergreen, notices a bent twig, with his eyes closed feels a microscopic sliver of boot leather resting on solid stone in the desert, or can jab his fire retardant finger straight into the hot coals of an abandoned camp fire and lick them off. You know it’s a done deal for whoever he’s tracking.
Often I think about how I became a Christian-- a follower of Jesus Christ-- and I replay the steps of my journey in my head. Or, should I call it wandering? Whatever…but then that ever glaring question nudges me: why have I become a disciple of Christ? As a of matter fact, why do I believe the Gospel at all while others dismiss it? I mean, why me? Why has God tracked me down?
And then I’m knocked back to my theological senses, as faulty as they may be, and read about why in God’s divine tracking manual. This is not Tracking for Dummies or Survival T.V. fare. Nope. It’s God’s divine tracking manual—the Bible. And I learn that there’s been this divine and triadic Fugitive Task Force: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And, yet, while the pages of Scripture reveal the narrative that although there’s been a pursuit, it’s also a done deal (see blog: 52 Words Every Christian Should Know - Word 35: Predestination).
I’ve been the fugitive, running from God’s goodness and love for so long while leaving tracks of human brokenness behind just like an insignificant pine needle or a smoldering fire. And, yet, He knew before the foundation of the world that those tracks would be evident since He is also, mystery of mysteries, the Grand Travel Agent of my journey; orchestrated to display His glory and goodness now and into eternity. My destination within His Kingdom is magnificently displayed with my mind’s-eye-photos and a running 66-book caption in His travel brochure.
Jesus tracks down those He has chosen before the foundation of the world. And, when He rattles your cage, shakes your world up, the question should be: “Who really is that following me?” Well, again, it’s three trackers so closely bonded that the team is essentially one Person who has decided that you will be tracked down even if you try to go to the ends of the earth (John 6:37-40) You’re a wanderer who He has determined to never let go.
It’s when he “caught up” with me that I understood that He had been actually before me all along. He has known from eternity past where I was headed and how I would be trying to get to a destination without the foggiest notion of what it would be. And the end of the journey, both temporally and eternally, it’s in a Person, the God-man, Jesus Christ. And it’s a miracle affirmed by the Spirit. It’s the presence of God. Despite myself, and as the Spirit breathed the words through the psalmist aptly reveals, “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” (Psalm 77:19, NIV84)
I have left ample footprints in my foreordained journey to salvation in the God-man Tracker, with the Father of the Tracker, and the Spirit-Tracker; the latter sent forth with the promise to monitor my heart. At specific times and in certain seasons the Spirit redirects my journey to ensure that my ultimate destination is firmly secure, that’s first. And then there’s the Spirit affirming that the things I’m doing in the here and now are for the right reasons, at the right time, at the right place.
Footprints? We leave them for others to follow in; some good, some not so good. For the Christian, God has eternally seen all manner of our imprints stamped into the hard and mult-layered soil of life. My greatest joy is knowing that I have the privilege of tracking the Savior’s footprints so that I can follow Him. The One who tracked me down has now beckoned me to track Him. And that’s what I intend to do the rest of my life.
For in those seasons when I seek Him with “all my heart, soul, mind, and strength” I know that His footprints are always there to be seen. Do footprints ever disappear? Not really.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:7–16 (NIV84)
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.