I get up in the morning, get dressed, and put on my shoes. You and I often begin our days with an agenda. Goals set. To-do’s listed. But the path we’ve chosen may change. Unexpected interruptions make us take different footsteps, filling a different set of shoes. This is when often I pray, “God, what do You want me to do with today?”
But sometimes, in a hurry, I throw my shoes on and head out the door.
Then the phone rings interrupting my ambition. Is this an unexpected call or a solicitor? No time for this now.
You and I have both answered the phone countless times before on our way out the door. Other times we’ve ignored the “ring ring ring” attention getter. We’re too busy to answer it. The shoes we fill often make us feel like we’re running. Life gets busy, right?
But this time, we feel moved to take the call. The voice behind the message heard on the other end makes our jaw drop.
_____ is gone. He or she died. He or she was in an accident. He or she just lost her job. He or she is missing. He or she just received a scary diagnosis. He or she just had their home broken in. He or she just filed for divorce. He or she….
And sometimes, the “he or she” situations we listen to are simply too painful, too much, or too consuming to take in. We do our best to understand. But we haven’t walked in their shoes. We attempt to put them on our own feet for just a moment — figuratively. But we have no idea how to lace them up or walk in them. Our feet don’t fit. We can’t come close to walking the same journey. Why? Because we all walk unique steps. Sometimes similar — but always different. No two paths are identical. We still want to help someone else, walking in challenging shoes to wear, but we’re not sure how.
Have you ever felt this way? I have.
There are certain situations when the most powerful action taken is found in commanding silence. No lecture. No advice. No, “I understand because I’ve been there myself. I’ve walked the same shoes.” You see, often, if we try that approach, we’ll get a “Yeah, right” followed by flowing tears, followed by silence, anger, or hurt.
In contrast, in silence we can pull God’s formidable presence into difficult or heart-wrenching situations, allowing our Heavenly Father to pull out His toolkit. In silence, we can listen to His voice. In silence, we can follow God’s direction. In uninterrupted silence with God, we can not yield to worldly distractions, our agenda, or our solutions. Instead, in the stillness of God’s presence, we can look up for His perfect plan. Trusting Him with our all is God-filled faith.
Soundlessness is not always sullen, although it can make us feel alone. Often quietude is a gift because it can direct us without distraction or interruption to the One who always loves us. Always listens. And that is good because He makes peace and comfort rise.
And although silence can make us feel alone, it’s also in those vulnerable moments that God captivates us and holds onto our inner soul, commanding our full attention. In Him, we can find peace and tranquility. Now we’re in a place where we can listen to God’s direction without interruption. Unfathomable wisdom and comfort are found in His silent yet strong presence. Time to pray. Time to talk with God. Just Him and you. And if He asks you to take off your shoes and walk with Him. Do.
Prayer is talking with God. He is the only One who completely grasps the difficulties we face and understands the complexity of the unique shoes we fill. So when someone goes through something difficult, heart-wrenching, or soul consuming, remember that hope begins with a prayer. And a good friend recognizes this, doesn’t attempt to put on the other person’s shoes by themselves, but rather gives God control.
Other times we simply need to focus on God alone. By ourselves — yet with Him, privately, before bringing anyone else into a given circumstance or challenge that has us wanting to rip our shoes off. And hide. Or crawl under a rock. Or quit. Wondering why God has us walking a particular path in the first place.
The other day, I was overwhelmed with the death of a dear friend, financial issues, health concerns, family issues, and more. So I picked up the phone to call a close friend because I needed to vent. I needed someone to listen, lift me up, and attempt to understand the shoes I was walking in.
First call. My husband. Busy at work. Second call. The phone rings without an answer. My confidant and cherished friend not home. Third call. Another dear friend. No answer. Fourth call. A close family member. Not there. No one available? Really? This hasn’t happened to me before. Now what, Helo?
I went up to my room, closed the door, and let the tears flow. My face was now soaking wet. I whispered, “God, how much more of this do you think I can handle? I’m overwhelmed. I feel like life is storming all over me. Please reign down on me.”
Time to keep my shoes on and stand upon my faith-rock. Not my better half, not my beloved friends or family could or can completely understand the complexity or depths of my heart with clarity like Jesus can. No one.
I love the hymn by Edward Mote (1797 – 1874), “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.”
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Now, I was in a quiet place without interruption. I finally took it straight to God. And it was just Him and me. He had my full attention.
“God, I feel alone.”
I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE, MY PRECIOUS CHILD.
“This is too much.”
I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE.
“God, why this, why now?”
PRECIOUS CHILD, TRUST ME.
LET GO, LET ME TAKE IT.
“Finally! Does that mean You will remove the burdens that I and those I love are facing?”
NO, BUT I PROMISE NEVER TO LEAVE NOR FORSAKE YOU.
“When will You answer me, God?”
IN MY PERFECT TIMING.
“But I want an answer now. I want You to heal my friend. I want You to remove the looming debt over a loved one. I want my husband’s job to be secure. I wish I didn’t have to watch a beloved one on hospice care. I want my brain to work as it should. I want my frustration to go away. I want, I want, I want….. I’m tired; I’m worn.”
CHILD, ARE YOU TRUSTING ME RIGHT NOW?
Pin drop silence. Mouth shut.
“No. I see I’m not. I’m not trusting You with my all. Help me trust You.”
“Thanks, God. I love You.”
I LOVE YOU, TOO.
This conversation was over for now. Lesson learned. Insight gained.
My soul was focusing on troubles surrounding me and those I love. I was falsely thinking and hoping that I could gather people close to me with a phone call to acquire peace. But no one answered the phone. Therefore, no one could listen. But God could and always can. Always.
This quiet moment hit me like a truth and assurance boulder.
God was reminding me to give and lift up my cares to Him first.
Not one of my close friends were able to pick up the phone that day. I now know there was a purpose behind those calls going unanswered. I learned, once again, to give it to my Father first.
I learned that there is nothing. Nothing more calming, beautiful, and soul-gripping than just God and me alone, together, quietly in a room with no interruptions. These moments are a treasure, needed and necessary. I crave them now. And He helps me walk in the shoes He gives to me.
My prayer for you is that you will see and understand that no matter what shoes God has asked you to fill today or will ask you to fill tomorrow, He will walk with you when you call Him near. You don’t need to walk alone.
So put your shoes on. Tie up the laces. Walk with God. Keep walking. Keep hoping. Keep trusting. And keep believing. Challenges make us stronger. Adversity makes us rise. With God, we are always equipped to handle whatever path He calls us to walk. Or run.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:7).
Hope in Him,