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Note:  Today’s post is a little longer than usual.  It should take about three minutes to read and will, hopefully, be worth your time.

The Lord provided a new pair of shoes for me this morning.  Well, actually, He allowed me to find a pair that He had provided 16 years ago.  However, He knew that I would need them today and that is when they appeared and I finally recognized them for the gift of God that they were.

I had actually purchased these shoes about sixteen years ago.  Because I have hard to fit feet which require heavy duty support in order for me to walk without pain  I had purchased a pair of Brooks Beasts, athletic shoes which are a lot more well endowed in the comfort and function departments than they are in the beauty department.

 The first time I wore them, comfortable and supportive as they were , a family member said, “Those are the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.”  I continued to wear them but every time this family member saw me in them she would comment “You have those ugly things on your feet again!”  So, I stopped wearing them, just to hush her comments.

 When I moved from one house to another I packed up the shoes, just in case I’d ever need them again someday.  In the move the shoes got separated from each other and I didn’t see them together again until today.

 Today—the day I prayed and asked the Lord to help me find some shoes that fit me and were comfortable. (I told you I was hard to fit.  It takes divine intervention to get comfortable shoes.)  Today was the day I looked at the pile of stuff that had come out of the closet I had cleaned two days ago.  Today was the day I noticed a single shoe in the pile.  Today was the day I remembered that I had also seen a single shoe in another pile when I had cleaned out a closet in another room about two weeks earlier.

 I ran to get the other shoe.  The two matched.  I rushed to put them on.  They were a perfect fit, exactly what I needed. And, since the relative who had complained so often about the shoes was no longer living, I felt free to enjoy wearing the comfortable and supportive shoes, the shoes which God had provided sixteen years ago but which I had just gotten around to being grateful for.

 As I thought about the shoes it struck me that God knew that I would need those shoes on this particular day, sixteen years after their purchase.  I believe He had prompted me to buy them then.  Sometimes He provides what we need well before we know or acknowledge our need for it.  God promises us “Before they call I will answer…” (Isaiah 65:24).

 Then it hit me that those shoes had been sitting in my house for over a decade and that I had not been either enjoying them or grateful for them.  It was only when I felt a new and acute need for shoes that didn’t create blisters on my feet, a need so strong that I actually prayed and asked God to provide, that I could suddenly appreciate them for the gift from God that they were.

 So often we ignore the gifts that God has given us, taking for granted what has been there all along.

 Donald Miller, in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years notes and explains this same human tendency.  He writes, “We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren’t capable of remembering how we got here.  When you are born, you wake slowly to everything.  Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you are groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car and then sex and job and health care.  The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering.  What I’m saying is I think life is staggering And we’re just used to it.  We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given—it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral” (58).

 George Herbert, 16th century Welsh poet and priest, expressed our human nature and human need accurately when he penned, “Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more, – a grateful heart…”

 This whole shoe business has got me thinking and wondering.  Are there other things that God has provided for me that I have either been disdaining or ignoring?  How often do I fail to appreciate and express gratitude for His provision?

 Sometimes the best way to nurture ourselves is simply by opening our eyes and seeing what has already been provided for our nourishment.

 Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free. [1]

 [1] “Open My Eyes that I May See” Words & Music: Clara H. Scott, in Best Hymns No. 2, by Elisha A. Hoffman & Harold F. Sayles (Chicago, Illinois: Evangelical Publishing Company, 1895)

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June 2010