By: Patty Joyce
Several years ago, I purchased a pair of red shoes—not just any red shoes, but red shoes that were made just for me. They had a dainty heel and a small opening for toes. I loved these shoes and wore them until they nearly fell apart.
A year or so later, I went back to the same shoe store, and, of course, the style was long gone. Although disappointed, time marches on and my quest for red shoes became a blur among life’s everyday occurrences.
Sometime later, my dear neighbor and friend, Georgeanna, who has almost the same shoe size as me, gave me two boxes of shoes that her mother couldn’t wear and didn’t fit Georganna’s style. I placed the boxes on a chair in my living room to look at their contents at a more convenient time.
A few days later, I remembered the boxes and opened the top box to find a precious pair of ankle-strap beige sandals that were just my type. As I opened the second box, my heart skipped a beat as I looked at an even more unbelievable sight—a brand new pair of red shoes with a dainty heel and the same toe cutout, but even prettier than my other shoes. There is only one person who could have found and given me such a precious gift—our Heavenly Father.
Our gracious God is so personal and intimate that our joy over anything is His joy as well—especially when He wants to surprise us. It was as if He was saying, Patty, here is a gift for you that only I knew about. As you wear them, remember how much I love you and know your every thought and desire. What I love best about my story is that I didn’t pray for new shoes, but there they were. He uses every means to accomplish His will, the greatest of all, sending His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins. And yet, the smallest and seemingly insignificant wish doesn’t escape Him.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew 6:25-27 NIV
Chances are that maybe you want or need something, but haven’t prayed for it because you felt unworthy to ask. Could that special something be perfectly wrapped, or will the doorbell alert you that a package is waiting on the front porch?
Do we really need something tangible to believe that our Heavenly Father really loves us? Compared to poverty, wars, Covid 19, disease, and the environment, does He have time to bend down and listen to someone’s insignificant request?
A favorite Scripture of mine answers this. Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV)—where God compares His love for Israel to a mother forgetting her child:
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”
God gives the image of Israel being inscribed on His palms. Figuratively speaking, whenever He lifts his hands, He sees the nation’s name. The image is also meant for us today—to encourage us that He not only has not forgotten his people, but He cannot.
God calls us to look at Him. He is not a distant God. He is not a concept or some ethereal being. He is a person who has revealed Himself to us through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Whether the prophet Isaiah, or the apostle Matthew, or our pastor, or a Bible scholar leaves us with these images and divinely written words, they are constant, never changing. With 2023 upon us, can we resolve to seek the Lord and, in doing so, find how very much He loves us (even when we don’t knock and pray for a pair of red shoes)? I hope so!