It’s rainy season here in Malawi. The rains are heavy, unforgiving, and at times heavy enough to damage or destroy houses. The mud created during the rains is the sticky, the I’m-about-to-sink-when-I-step-in-it kind. The best shoes to wear in this weather are any kind that clean up easily.
I have to admit to being more than irritated when my shoes get muddy. In preparation for such rainy days, I wear a pair of plastic flip flops. The other day, however, I wasn’t thinking when I walked out the door with my leather sandals. Granted, they aren’t pretty shoes, these shoes are made for walking. I realise they aren’t the prettiest things to look at but they keep my feet pretty happy – but they aren’t the shoes to wear in the mud.
This has been an exciting week for us here in Blantyre, Malawi. We’ve moved the church from meeting in our tent at a rented school ground to our own property (the amazing story of how that property came about is for another day). The tent is pretty plain, nothing remarkable, but seeing it pitched on site was, for us, breathtaking.
Yes, the day we moved, on the day of heavy rains and mud beyond description, I forgot to be prepared and wore the wrong shoes. My “made for walking” shoes I found were NOT made for walking in the mud I encountered at the tent. The mud gathered all around the sides of my shoes and stuck with abandon. As soon as I got home, I peeled them off (yes the mud even stuck them to my feet) and worked on cleaning them up.
Every day we need to wear our shoes and base our choices on what shoes to wear depending on what’s happening. There are so many kinds to choose from! Sandals, high heels, running shoes, tennis shoes, steel toe boots for construction workers, and others I can’t even begin to remember. When we don’t wear the right-fitting shoes for whatever we are doing, we risk falling, injury, or worse (for us ladies at least), ruining our shoes! (For those of you who are curious, my messed up shoes did clean up nicely!)
As a parent, I purchase the best shoes I can find for my daughter. Granted, she’s only 8 (soon to be 9 she reminds me) but my job is to make sure her feet are taken care of. Sometimes we argue over what shoes she should wear. She’s recently outgrown a pair of black shoes that she loves; even though they are tight she insisted on wearing them to church a few weeks ago. I warned her but she insisted “they fit fine.” You know the outcome already: her feet hurt midway through the service and I had the honourable duty of saying, “I told you so.”
God, our Father, wants to fit us with the right shoes that will make our feet beautiful and work well for the journey that lies ahead of us. We may argue with Him, we may insist the shoes we pick are “just fine” only to realise later on that He was right and the shoes He has in mind are better.
His approach to shoes is so very different; God doesn’t have work shoes in mind for us. We seem to think that life is meant to be lived under stress and pressure, but that isn’t the case.
Matthew 11:29,30 NLT “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Instead of work shoes, God has set aside a pair of dancing shoes for you. Life with Him isn’t meant to be a heavy, difficult job, it’s meant to be a dance with the Greatest Partner. When and where He leads is the safest of all journeys.
Psalm 30:11 ESV “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”
Our Dancing Partner is the only One Who leads us in the dance with His own singing. Can you imagine what a dance this life is meant to be?
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Have you heard Him sing over you today? Stop just for a moment and listen – then join Him in the dance.