As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalms 103:12 (NKJV)
I recently returned from a splendid four days at the Atlantic seashore town of Stone Harbor, New Jersey. This was my first trip to this tiny hamlet on the Jersey shore but not my first experience with the Atlantic Ocean. This weekend the weather was perfect for days on the beach and cool evenings on the balcony.
What I enjoy the most about time at the beach is walking along the shoreline leaving behind footprints of where I have been. These footprints not only tell the story of where I have been but also in which direction I am going. No matter how hard I may try to not leave imprints in the sand there still remains tell tale signs of my passing. Anyone who may come after me can follow those footsteps to where I was going. If they follow all the way to my destination they will know where it was I was heading. They could then experience whatever lay at the end of the trail of footprints in the sand. For better or ill.
As I walked along the shore line I saw many other footprints as well. Tiny footprints of a child as well as footprints of a dog that recently passed that way. The sand pipers would leave behind their tiny claw prints as they darted in and out of the water. Barefooted walkers and those who wore sandals. Each print was unique and had a story to tell.
I would imagine where those footprints were going, what was on their mind as they walked along that seashore. My mind would try to picture the person who left those footprints, where they were from, what they did for a living, how long they had been there. Where they short or tall? Big or small? Rich or poor? It really did not matter because we were both walking along the same pathway heading in the same direction.
Have you ever tried to walk in another's footsteps only to find that you can not exactly match the gait or stride of the person who originally made the mark? There are places where they may have sped up or slowed down. Perhaps they started to run or dance. Even trying to backtrack upon your own footsteps is difficult to do. The once pristine imprint of your foot gets all distorted from your inability to duplicate each exact step.
These footprints are a one time masterpiece never to be duplicated. Such is our journey through this life. Wherever we go there is a record of each footstep ever taken. There is a pathway carved in the seashore of life indicating our every move and direction change. Some have spent the last several years re-treading the same area of beach never venturing far from the familiar. Some have gone on long travels into the unknown. Some have walked as if they are on a one way trip to somewhere never retreading the same ground twice. Some have left deep impressions in the sand where they just stood still for long periods of time and as the tide came in they sank deeper and deeper into the soft ground beneath their feet. Whatever the reason or course chosen each foot step is recorded along the beachhead of time.
On this trip to the coast I made it a point to revisit some of the places where my feet have trod in the past. The purpose was to revisit some of the memories and perhaps make some new ones. Following in old footprints changes the way those footprints remain and just maybe the alterations can change where those footprints now lead. As I walked the old familiar pathways purposing to make new memories I was reminded of some of the old memories along the way. But just like the scripture states above, slowly I could see the tide coming in to wash away those footprints leaving behind a fresh slate of clear clean sand in which I could start all over again.
I had only gone a few blocks up the beach before I decided to head back to the beach house and already the water had started to erase those previous footprints. In a matter of a few minutes any trace of my being there would have been erased for all time. Never again would I be able to retrace my steps exactly like I had before.
Such is the beauty of each new day. A new canvas has been prepared for us on which you can record a brand new story. We are presented with fresh sand along the shore line whereby we can place an entirely new set of footprints. We may head off in the same general direction but the path we take will never be exactly like before. Like the sea foam that washed away my footprints along the shore so too has God wiped away all my past mistakes and sins. He has forgotten those long ago footprints and has set before me a freshly cleaned beach on wish to walk anew.
Although we can never fully retrace our steps we surely can renew them.