Like many women I am a lover of all things shoes. High heels, loafers, flip flops, ballet flats - you name it. I am all things footwear. I love matching the perfect shoe to the right outfit, for the right occasion. It just makes me step out with confidence.
I recently went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. That particular day I wore a striking pair of 5-inch heels that I loved and felt good in. They were cute, they were high and they made a statement.
The problem though was when I had to get to and from the parking lot. It had this decorative, cobblestone look-alike roadway that was pretty to look at but treacherous to travail. My shoes weren't made for this. They weren't providing sure footing. My friend had to all but carry me to and from the car. Cute shoes, but useless for the terrain.
I don't always have the right shoe for an outfit or an occasion; and I am not just being a girl about this. I really don't . At those moments I do what every girl does - I raid someone else's closet. This closet raid is first my sister's - which doesn't always pan out because we wear different sizes. I know men don't necessarily face this dilemma as most men seem to have the one pair of shoes for every occasion! But bear with me as I make my point.
There is a shoe that I have, that I didn't have to raid someone's closet for, as it was given to me. It's a style that fits every occasion and makes me look good and walk with confidence every single time. It makes my way sure and it provides stability in the most treacherous terrains. It is the Shoe of Peace, and I am learning more and more to appreciate it.
The Shoe of Peace, as I heard a bible study leader call it, is footwear that comes from Another, but is given to me to use. They belong to my Father and they fit me perfectly. They are the right size and the right style.
Prints of Peace
Paul makes reference to this peace throughout the letter to the Ephesians and explains how the gospel of peace reconciles mankind, brings unity amongst believers, and deals with the conflict of law and sin. It is important to remember that when he wrote this letter he was in jail, making key observations of what a Roman officer wore.
I recently saw a picture of the shoes that Roman soldiers would wear. The most distinctive feature for me is the protruding spikes at the bottom of the leather soles. These protruding spikes provided the soldier with stability and sure footing, and it made its mark wherever the soldier walked.
This sounds like peace to me. Peace kept Paul stable in the midst of turbulence and made its mark on all his situations, and that same peace is doing the same for me. Priscilla Schirer puts it this way:
"True peace is best detected and measured against the backdrop of commotion and confusion- when instability abounds, yet you remain steadfast; when disappointment and confusion are near, yet you're still capable of walking with the Spirit- infused confidence, stability, and steadiness."
When there is no peace our lives are riddled with discord, disharmony, disturbance and disillusionment, both inwardly and externally. Tension broods in our hearts and minds and it extends to our relationships, causing great frustration and unrest. The Shoe of Peace provides a firm grip and keeps us from slipping into outbursts of rage; from being wound up with anxiety and from sinking into discouragement. The Shoe of Peace keeps our emotions and mind stabilized and our relationships intact.
As much as I love a cute pair of stiletoes, that type of footwear will do me no good hiking the beautiful mountains of my country. My feet will ache, my ankles will get twisted and I will slip and fall. I must choose the right footwear for the terrain I am walking on.
The thing with life is that I don't always get to choose the terrain I travel on. I can't always predict what I am going to face. I don't know when a family member will get deathly ill, I can't foresee if sudden circumstance will rock my financial standing, and I certainly don't plan blow-ups in friendships. However, even though I can't always choose the ground I walk on in life, with the Shoes of Peace I am always prepared for any terrain.
The enemy wants nothing more than to cripple us with anxiety, slip us up with doubt, and trip us up on discouragement. But as Priscillia Schirer so aptly puts it:
"God's peace gives us a firm grip which we need in a world that is not firm. [It] gives us stability, [keeps] our footing when everything around us is swirling, [and] will help to keep us sane."
A friend once compared the problem they were facing to balancing a pole on a tightrope with turbulent wind forces surrounding them. That imagery aptly describes so many of the circumstances we face. It is only God-sized peace that keeps us in this type of scenario.
So in your tumultuous moments, hand over the pole, climb on His back and watch Him as He calms the storm and carries you over. Let the peace which passes all understanding stabilize your feet and keep your footing sure.
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