I’m currently in the process of recovering from knee surgery and slowly getting back out on the streets and sidewalks of Kalkaska, building up my walking (and soon, running!) stamina. Before surgery I was walking 3-4 miles, several times a week, and now I’m lucky to get 1-2 miles, 2-3 times a week. Thankfully, my times are getting faster and my distances are lengthening.
Prior to my surgery, though, I was a little worried about my shoe situation. I purchased two pair of shoes (the exact same brand/style) a couple years back when Traci and I were training for our first 1/2 marathon, and I was still wearing the second of those two pairs just weeks before my surgery. Good running shoes can be pretty spendy, and this current season of life hasn’t given us a lot of extra resources for $125 running shoes.
Honestly, I was thanking the Lord that my shoes had lasted so long but I knew that with the upcoming procedure I was going to need to replace my old and worn shoes. I’m sure the shoe's paper-thin sole wasn’t helping my knee problem anyway, and putting them back on after surgery seemed like a terrible idea for a speedy recovery.
So Traci and I both prayed for the resources to replace those shoes.
Even as I type that sentence, it sounds silly to me. With so much going on in our lives and in the world around us, praying for running shoes seems like a pretty low priority.
A couple of weeks after we began praying for shoes, Traci came home from a ladies’ event at church with a large bag containing gifts. There was a smaller package for her, and...you guessed it...a shoe-box sized package for me. God didn’t just send along any old pair of running shoes, He sent along the exact same brand of shoe I had been running with before my surgery. And...I even liked the color.
This morning as I laced up my shoes for a two mile walk (my longest so far!), I paused for a moment to think about my shoes. If God cares about these running shoes, so much so that He even made sure I received the brand, size and color that I would have chosen myself, how much more does He care about the bigger issues of life—the ones that keep us up at night?
In Matthew 6:28-34 Jesus gives us some fine advice about the worries of this life: “...See how the flower of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all His splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?” And this passage finished up with these words: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...”
What a profoundly clear and simple promise of God. If I could modernize this for a moment, it might have sounded like this: “Joe, if I care so much about you recovering from your knee surgery that I gave you brand spankin’ new shoes, the exact brand, size and color you would choose. Those shoes are going to be worn out in a few months time after you get walking and running again, so how much more do I care for life’s big problems? And think about it, if I can adorn your feet like I did without breaking a sweat, are you really going to worry about how I will take care of your other needs, too?”
I can’t think of one positive benefit to worry. In fact worry has been linked to so many mental and physical health problems that I think Jesus’ point is pretty clear: worry will pretty much suck the joy out of your life, but as long as you stay connected to me, you can stop worry from stealing your joy no matter what you’re walking through today.
Whatever you’re going through today, whatever problems or challenges you may face tomorrow, don’t add worry to the list. Instead, embrace the words of Matthew 6 and remember that the God who provides food for birds and makes flowers beautiful despite their temporary nature, is the same God who meets the needs of His children. Pray and trust Him, and then watch for your “running shoes” to show up in an unexpected package.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!