Beautiful Feet

As women, I think all of us have had something about us that we’d like to change, some part of our appearance that we feel self-conscious about.  It seems to me that it really starts – and does so intensely – when we are in middle school, those early teen years when so much of life is emotional and confusing and full of hormones.

When I was that age, the part of my body I wanted to change most was my feet.  Let’s just say that I still wear the same size shoe I wore in the 8th grade and that is on the far right hand side of the clearance rack at DSW.  When one part of your body has finished growing while the rest of your body is catching up, it can be embarrassing.

Thankfully, like most of us do, as I grew up I reconciled myself to my looks and my body, both the parts I liked and the parts I wish God had made differently.  I became comfortable and confident in my own skin, even my feet.  But that changed about a year ago.

Aging changes your body all over.  I look at the spots on my arms and legs from years of sun, the raised veins on my hands, the gray hairs that I will confess to plucking; and I want to scream, “STOP!!”  Last summer this aging process hit my feet – the ones I had managed to become comfortable with.  But now they looked odd.  I knew it was going to happen because I inherited them and had seen the change in relatives’ feet.  Even the best pedicure couldn’t cover it up.  I became embarrassed again like I was in junior high, avoiding flip flops and cute sandals.

Then one day last summer, I was reading something during my quiet time and all of a sudden there was Isaiah 52:7:

“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

Even though conviction can be painful, I love those moments when the Holy Spirit uses the Word to cut me to the quick, and this was one of those.  In one fell swoop came both conviction and encouragement.  Conviction that I was worried about my feet and encouragement that the Lord thinks they are beautiful.

Back in the ‘80’s we sang a worship song that started with this verse so I was reminded all the time about the feet that God finds to be beautiful.  But we never sing it anymore, and it had been a long time since I had read this verse.  And I had lost perspective.

That morning of sweet conviction reminded me of a couple of things.  One is what a difference it always makes when we remember God’s perspective on things.  I was looking at my feet from only the world’s perspective – a physical one with a certain definition of beauty.  But the Lord’s perspective isn’t like the world’s.  How I need to be reminded of that over and over again.  And the main way to do that is to stay in His Word.

The other thing it reminded me of is what is important to God.  And that is that the good news is shared, that the lost hear the gospel, that we take it to those who have never heard it.  Paul quotes part of this verse in Romans 10:14-15:
“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

The note in my study Bible says that another way to translate “bring glad tidings of good things” is “preach the gospel”.  I like that.

You and I may not be preachers in the way we typically define the word now, but we are still “sent ones”.  Jesus said in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  All of us are sent by Jesus.  It may not be in vocational ministry, it may not be overseas.  But each one of us has been sent – to your office, to your neighborhood, to your community.  All of us are called to have beautiful feet that take the gospel to those who have never heard it – no matter where they are, no matter where we are.

Since that morning, it’s been a little easier to wear sandals with confidence although I’ll confess there are still plenty of times when I feel self-conscious.  I still wish I had beautiful feet.  But what matters more to me is that the Lord thinks my feet are beautiful.  I pray I will be faithful to keep them that way by sharing “glad tidings of good things” with those who don’t know Him.

Faith Without Borders Part 2

As I’ve been meditating on a trust without borders, several of the saints in Scripture who lived this way came to mind.

The 12 spies had borders.  Caleb and Joshua had no borders. Many times when the Lord is leading me to do something that brings fear in me, He reminds me of this story in Numbers 13-14.  God had promised them this land, freed them from slavery in Egypt to bring them to this point and done amazing miracles in the process.  But when they got to the edge and it was time to go in, their faith had borders.  The spies saw only the obstacles, the “giants”, and thus saw themselves as grasshoppers.  Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, were ready to go for it!  And the reason was that they knew the Lord was with them and so there was no reason to be afraid (Numbers 14:9).  When they get back to the edge of the Promised Land 40 years later, Caleb and Joshua still have no borders.  I love the faith of Caleb as an 85-yr-old man asking to be given the hill country saying, “If the Lord is with me, I can force them out, as He promised.”  (Deuteronomy 14:12)

The Israelites had borders.  David had no borders.  In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites are facing off with the Philistines when the Philistines send out Goliath, a giant outfitted with the best armor and weapons.  He issues a one-on-one challenge to the Israelites which leaves them quaking in their sandals.  But when David hears this, his response is completely different and one with no borders – “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”  (1 Samuel 17:26b)  He takes a sling and five smooth stones – and “the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (17:45).  And that was all he needed.  David says confidently to Goliath, “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (17:46-47).  And God did just that.

Abraham had no borders.  In Genesis 12, the Lord tells Abraham to leave his country and his relatives to go to the land that God would show him.  Included in this command is a promise to make Abraham the father of many nations.  Hebrews 11:8b says Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going.”  If that’s not a faith with literally no borders, I don’t know what is!

Noah had no borders.  In Genesis 6, the Lord commands Noah to build an ark because He is bringing a flood of water to destroy every creature on earth except the ones in the ark.  But Noah had never seen rain!  Hebrews 11:7 says that “Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark”.  At that time, a mist would rise from the earth to water the ground (Genesis 2:6) – there was no rain.  But Noah was a righteous man who walked with God, and his faith had no borders (Genesis 6:9).  Which is exactly why God chose him.

These are just a few of the “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Hebrews 12:1) who trusted the Lord and followed Him no matter what the cost, no matter how ludicrous it seemed to others, no matter what obstacles seemed to lie before them.  They were able to do it because they knew the God who called them and believed that He was trustworthy and able to do whatever He promised.

What is God calling you to do?  What is He calling me to do?  Do we have borders on our faith, limits to how much we will trust Him?  Or will we follow Him and trust Him like these saints did?  I hope so.  They all were greatly blessed because they followed and obeyed.  I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me because my faith was too small and my fear was too big.