I recently had a flare up of Plantar Fasciitis. For those of you who have experienced this, you know it is no fun at all and can be quite painful. I started having trouble a few months back when I started a new job and began wearing a shoe with a small heel. Now mind you, this was a very small and sensible heel because I’m just not as young as I used to be. But although the change in my external footwear was slight the pain it has brought to the inside of my foot has not been slight. My tennis shoes are now a regular part of my wardrobe….no matter where I am. At home. At church. At work. At meetings. And I don’t take them off during the day except to shower.
A sweet friend of mine saw me limping not long ago and after inquiring of the cause showed up at my house with a new pair of shoes for me. These shoes are cute. Very colorful and fun.
But don’t let them fool you. They have a secret. The inside is made of memory foam to cushion and protect my foot and if you turn them over you see that they have serious traction. Sort of a tennis shoe in disguise. And it is amazing the difference the right pair of shoes can make.
I’ve been studying in Ephesians lately about the armor of God and there is a very important part of our uniform as Christians that we can’t do without. That is the Shoes of Peace. In Ephesians 6:15 it says, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News (the gospel) so that you will be fully prepared”. (New Living Translation)
According to this, if we don’t put on the shoes of peace that come from God we simply won’t be prepared. Prepared for what? Prepared for life. Prepared for the conflicts, difficulties and struggles that come our way. The truth of the matter is that struggle comes to every person that draws breath. It might look different with some than others, but humans cannot escape troubles because we live in a sinful world. Period.
So if they are coming our way we need to be prepared for them. The way to do that is a new pair of shoes. A new pair that is always a part of your wardrobe. A new pair of shoes that protect you and give you the traction you need when the way is slippery. The shoes of peace that come from God.
Bible teacher, Priscilla Shirer says it well:
“Peace…does not refer to the absence of chaos, but rather to an overall, deeply entrenched sense of harmony, health, and wholeness in the midst of chaos. In fact, true peace is best detected and measured against the backdrop of commotion and confusion – when instability abounds, yet you remain steadfast; when disappointment and confusion are near, yet you’re still capable of walking with Spirit-infused confidence, stability and steadiness.”
This morning was the first day back to school after Christmas break. You know what I learned today? I learned that Mama needs a new pair of shoes! Sometimes it isn’t even the big things in life that turn us upside down. It’s the small. Like missing shoes when it’s time to go to school….A little girl using her teenage brother’s toothbrush instead of her own…..a misplaced basketball jersey the day of the game….no creamer for my coffee. Sometimes, like my small sensible heel on my shoe that caused pain on the inside of my foot, the slightest change in our external circumstances can cause problems on the inside of our hearts and minds. And then we become stressed and frazzled and it effects us deeply and those around us.
But the right shoes is changing the pain in my foot, helping me to not be “crippled” any more. The shoes of peace can change what’s happening in our hearts and with our emotions and in our thoughts. We don’t have to live unprotected, crippled lives at the mercy of our circumstances.
So how do we put on the shoes of peace in the midst of chaos? Look at Philipians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”. (New Living Translation)
- Be thankful
We don’t just take our requests to God so that He can worry with us. We trust Him with our requests and give thanks. Prayer and thanksgiving are married together. Then we experience peace that is bigger and more powerful than anything we can explain. And God Himself will grant the peace needed to guard our hearts against anything that comes our way.
I think it’s time to invest in a new pair of shoes!