I have a 2 year old daughter. She’s equal parts spunk and sass. She’s a spitfire, and I am crazy about her. Even at her young age, she’s got a mind of her own. She knows what she wants, and will stop at nothing to get it.
But she does this thing. Every time we get in the car, after I buckle her into her carseat and start the car, she takes her shoes off. Every. Single. Time.
If you know anything about putting shoes on kids, you know that this isn’t the easiest task in the world. Kids tend to be a bit squirmy. And if you know anything about the way little kids take their shoes off, you know that they don’t just place them neatly beside each other. They place/launch them into two totally different places.
So when she takes her shoes off in the car, they’re not placed on the edge of her car seat. One is under the passenger’s seat, and the other has somehow been lodged under the floor mat of the trunk. Don’t ask me how that happens.
It’s so frustrating, because every time we get out of the car, I have to go on a hunt for her shoes, then deal with her little feet that want to go any direction except towards the front of her shoes.
But I realized something just the other day that motivates her taking her shoes off.
She has no clue how far we are going.
Confession: I take my shoes off on long trips when I’m driving. It’s more comfortable that way. I can relax a little more when my shoes are off than when they’re on. The difference between me and my daughter, though, is that I know how long the trip is going to take. I don’t take my shoes off if I’m driving 5 minutes to the grocery store.
My daughter does. And that’s because she doesn’t know if the trip we’re on is across the country or across the street. If it were a trip across the country, then of course taking her shoes off would be appropriate. All she thinks is, “One time, we took this long trip, and I took my shoes off and it was great, so…”
Taking our spiritual shoes off
The same thing can be true with our spiritual lives, too. We hit difficult seasons in life. Everybody does. We hit a tough road at work, at home, with our friends, or with our families. We hit tough financial times, strained marriages, and sicknesses. Pain, frustrations, and chaos seem to hit all at the same time. I know, because I’ve been there.
In these moments, it’s easy to give up on God. Easy to “take our shoes off” because it’ more comfortable, and easy, to give up than to persevere.
We give up too soon. We quit too early. Because we don’t know when the end, the payoff, is coming.
One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
What a hope-filled verse. This is an easy one to quote to someone that’s living in the middle of a confusing, painful life situation.
But most people forget the verse before:
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
70 years!! The promise for the hope God has would come after 70 years of living in exile. But hope was coming.
Our question for God is, “Is this a 7 minute situation? Or a 70 year situation?” And do you know what God answers with?
“I got this.”
Maybe your “shoes” aren’t a painful time of “suffering” you’re walking through, but they’re a dream you’ve yet to see realized. You desperately want ______, and God hasn’t granted it yet. If we knew the answer to when our suffering would be over, there would take no faith. We wouldn’t need to trust God, because we’d know with certainty when we’d get what we were wanting.
So I tell my daughter now, “Leave those shoes on. We’ve got some walking to do here in just a sec. I’ll tell you when you can take them off.”
Maybe in our car rides through life, God’s telling us the same thing. He’s got a plan, and a timing, but we’ve got to trust. He knows what He’s doing, so we need to leave our shoes on. Relief is coming, but it’s coming through an avenue we couldn’t have imagined. (Ephesians 3:19-21)
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:5-6
Relief is coming sooner than you think! It may not be exactly when you want, but it’s better than you could dream of.
What is it that you desperately want, but God hasn’t given you?