Shoes & God’s Other Wonders

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Whenever I ride the metro in Madrid, I look at people’s shoes. I know it seems weird, but I can’t help it. There are just so many varieties and colors, I can’t seem to take my eyes off them. Red shoes, big shoes, clean shoes, hiking shoes, running shoes, shiny shoes, work shoes, high-heeled shoes, muddy shoes, expensive shoes, old shoes, and even high-top shoes. Shoes can be powerful things. Marilyn Monroe is quoted as saying, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can change the world.” We all know it worked for Cinderella.


In the Old Testament, after rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, God miraculously gave the children of Israel shoes that never wore out for their long desert journey.  Although this was a very practical provision for them at the time, God had another clear reason for doing it. Deuteronomy 29 says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feetI did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God. ” Would Adonai, the majestic Triune-God really use something as simple as shoes to reveal Himself to His people? It seems He would and did.


God also used shoes as an indication of His faithful provision and love for His covenant people. In Ezekiel 16, Israel is described as a parentless child who has been abandoned, naked and cold, in a field.  He protects her until she comes of age and then takes her as his bride. Shoes form part of His marriage gifts and symbolize His commitment to protect and care for her always. They are made from the finest of leather. In the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, shoes are an indication of the privilege of sonship along with a fine robe and a ring for his finger. His new shoes publicly redeem him. His past is forgotten, all is forgiven, and he is restored.


Finally, shoes form an essential part of the armor of God for the well-equipped Christian. Paul, in Ephesians 6, was most likely describing the shoes Roman soldiers wore to battle. They were made of one leather piece, including the laces. They were also equipped with hobnails on the soles to give grip for climbing in difficult terrain. They were built to last, built for battle, and built for walking. In the same way, God fitted us with His shoes of eternal peace for knowing and believing the gospel. Let’s use them to accomplish His will in the world.  


As you put your shoes on in the morning, don’t forget who you belong to or who provides everything you need. Shod your feet with the gospel of peace and run down every path God gives to you. Then…maybe a good pair of shoes really can change the world.

The Width of My Hand

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Honestly, I thought I had more time, more time to develop the best strategy and to muster the courage. If I would have just had more time to get my own issues figured out, my own life goals in order, THEN I’m fairly certain I would have been ready. I guess I was waiting for the perfect moment. But maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe it is worse than that. Maybe I just didn’t care enough. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter now. My high school friend is dead and I never said a word, not one word. I have no idea if she knew Christ personally or not. If she did, it was definitely not because of me.

The Bible admonishes us in Ephesians 5, “So be careful how you live…make the most of every opportunity…understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (CJB) As a foreign missionary, this is what my life is about each day. I pray for the people who exercise with me in the gym; I give a Bible to a store clerk; I ask my language students questions that will cause them to consider spiritual concepts; I explain redemption to a professional friend who doesn’t know what to do with her sin; I pray for opportunities to have Bible studies with friends who know virtually nothing about the Scriptures. How is it then I didn’t say anything to someone I went to school with for five years and have known for more than twenty?

There’s a Pink Floyd song called Time that spans the course of one life and marvels at what little impact it has had. Even before he realizes it, this man’s life has already wasted away. The lyrics say, “The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say.” We do have something more to say as believers, and we need to say it before the music stops. We need to say it before ‘time ticks away’ as DC Talk reminds us. The Psalmist put it this way:

Psalm 39: 4, 5
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” (NLT)

One of the last conversations I had with my friend she asked me what I was doing overseas. I told her I worked for a non-profit religious organization. But that’s all I told her. I have the deep peace and the love a merciful Savior to guide me, and that’s all I told her.

The width of my hand is about two inches. It doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for foolish, wasteful, fearful, or selfish behavior. May we all learn to love others enough to tell the truth before time runs out.