Poem, ‘Footprints in the Sand,’ inspires East Texas artist to bring the poem to life and create a landmark in Carthage. Statue of Jesus is the largest bronze statue of Him in the United States.
Words, more than anything, can inspire.
A poem most Christians are familiar with is “Footprints in the Sand” written by Mary Stevenson in 1936. The poem is meant to give comfort to a believer by reassuring them that Jesus never leaves the believer’s side, even in times of trouble.
The poem is found printed on posters, Bible covers, computer wallpaper, plaques and many other mediums. It has become ubiquitous among Christians and the words of the poem inspired Panola County artist Bob Harness.
The poem creates a vivid word picture of Jesus and a person walking along a sandy beach, and Jesus carrying the person during times of sorrow and tribulation. Mr. Harness took the word picture created by the poem and turned it into a larger-than-life statue and park, depicting the footprints in the sand and Christ carrying a man.
Help was sought from Panola County pastors and churches and countless volunteers to help bring Mr. Harness’ vision to life. Mr. Harness noted more than 100 people helped to create the great monument located at Pippen Park, just southeast of Carthage, the county seat of Panola County. The park is named after the Pippen family who generously donated the land for the park located at the corner of the Southwest Loop and Dixie Lake Road. Others donated funds to pay for the materials and work needed to build such a lasting memorial to the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
All along the way Mr. Harness said God provided for the project, helping to see it through from vision to completion.
Christ stands at 14-feet tall in the statue and he carries a man across the troubled sands of life. As for the man being carried, he represents everybody who has given their life to Christ and allowed Him to carry them through this life. This is the largest bronze statue of Jesus Christ in the United States.
The park officially was dedicated on July 3, 2016. There’s still some landscape and other work needed at the park, to learn how to donate, or more about the monument and its creator Bob Harness visit the website footprintsmonument.com.