Sunday, 19 March 2017

Pause In Lent #3 - Walking By Faith

It's funny how things in life connect up sometimes. When I was away in Albania, I missed the local Churches Together Songs Of Praise Evening [held at UCF, well attended, fantastic tea, superb singing, by all accounts] So I never met Father Dylan James, the new priest at the RC Church. He'd asked for "The Footprints Hymn" to be sung. We knew the poem [which I continue to credit as 'anon' because three different women have claimed that they wrote it] but not a hymn.  Some research unearthed this piece, written by a Rob Atkins, Baptist Minister from Wales [who trained just after Bob, at Spurgeons College] Rob wrote it while sitting on a sand dune on holiday in Bordeaux. The hymn fits the tune of Londonderry Air. 

A number of people here have since said how much they liked this piece, so here it is...

Upon the shore, I walked with Him at even
And I looked back upon the path we’d trod
And in the sand I traced our way at even
And I was glad I’d walked through life with God:
For side by side we’d journeyed through together
All through the world’s wide wilderness of care
And side by side we’d journeyed through to even:
Safe at His side the Lord my God had brought me here.

But in my joy I caught a strain of sadness
To give me pause when thinking of my way
For on the shore I saw He’d left me lonely
When I had most the need of Him to stay:
When I was tired He’d left me worn and wandering,
He’d left me lone when I was fighting fears,
He’d let me tread the steepest slopes in solitude
Before He came back to my side to dry my tears.

But then the Lord drew near to me in comfort
And in His tenderness He made it plain
That in the times when dread and darkness threatened
He was my shield and shelter from the pain:
For on His shoulders He was gently bearing
And on His shoulders I from harm was free:
The single trace of footprints of the Master,
The single trace of footprints shows He carried me.

So on the shore I walk with Him at even;
I face the latter days of life secure,
For if my pilgrimage reserves me sorrow
The footprints show that He is strong and sure:
If I am near the gates of heaven weary,
No longer strong enough to stride alone
The footprints show that He is there to carry me:
The footprints show the Lord my God will bear me home.


  1. Hiya - I'm Rob Atkins. Thank you very much for using the hymn.

  2. Ha! I can see whose page this is now. Long time!

  3. Good to hear from you!! So pleased that Fr Dylan introduced your hymn to us. Blessings x

  4. Say hello from me. We are friends on Facebook but we've never met.


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