I smiled as I looked in the mirror. I had finally found an incredible deal for a pair of brown boots. Happy with my new purchase, I had brought them home and was trying them on again. My search was officially over: God had provided me with a quality product at a very affordable price. Still smiling, I walked back to my room and sat on my bed.
“Return the shoes”, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper.
My smile vanished.
I knew it! God was out to get me. No wonder I had been feeling uneasy lately! The thought that the Holy Spirit was always with me was beginning to bother me. I wondered whether God would boss me around. Whether He would abuse His power by asking me to give something up just because He could. Whether He would throw me under the bus for the sake of His glory.
And now, God had set His sights on my beautiful shoes.
It was time to negotiate. I frantically reminded Him that He was the God of the universe. What was He going to do with a pair of shoes? Surely, He was doing this to hurt me.
“I don’t need you to give up the shoes”, The Holy Spirit responded. “You need you to give up the shoes”.
Suddenly, I was reminded of a prayer that I had prayed the night before. I had told God that I loved Him and that I wanted to serve Him with all my heart, mind, body and soul. That He would always come first, no matter the cost.
I broke down.
Shoes. That’s all it took. I had practically declared war on God over a pair of shoes. I took them off and put them back in the box.
This was ridiculous. They were just shoes! Maybe God wasn’t actually speaking to me. He wouldn’t have let me come across such a great deal if He didn’t want me to buy them. Maybe it was all in my head. Besides it is written in Isaiah 52:7 “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…”. Beautiful shoes on these blessed feet wouldn’t hurt, now would it?
I cringed. You know you have a problem when you start misquoting scriptures. I stared at the box. Between sobs, I asked the Holy Spirit if He really wanted me to return them.
“Yes” He answered.
Fine. I guess obedience couldn’t always be easy. The next day, I returned the shoes in the hope that God might someday have something better in store for me. Literally.
I went home relieved and saddened at the same time. Relieved to have obeyed Him, and saddened that all it took was a pair of shoes to show me what my sincere love for God actually looked like.
As I thought about what I could learn from this experience, I felt a comforting presence. The Holy Spirit knew that I had been afraid to hear His voice. I was trying to suppress it, but He had created this situation to address it.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made”, He said softly.
Then it hit me: He was right. I AM fearfully and wonderfully made.
I had always looked at it from a physical perspective but it was also a spiritual reality. As a child of God, I am a new creation, His masterpiece, His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works prepared beforehand. I am being transformed into His image, from one degree of glory to another. He is building His kingdom and I am part of it.
That’s why He purifies me. That’s why He disciplines me. That’s why He transforms and renews me. I am being fearfully and wonderfully made as we speak. Through every experience, every victory, every challenge, every leap of faith, God is removing my blemishes and building His glorious kingdom.
Up until then, I had always thought of God’s kingdom as something external. Yes, I was aware of the fact that it was within me, but I was more aware of its expansion than its refinement. I had forgotten that Jesus is my shepherd and that He handles me with care… like an artist handles his masterpiece. Like a loving Father handles His child. He would never abuse me or throw me under the bus for the sake of His glory.
My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe how foolish I had been. Despite my doubts, God had taken the time to address a concern that I didn’t even think was worth discussing. I felt so loved. So protected. So valued. So grateful.
The fear of hearing God’s voice vanished. I now knew it: no matter what He held back from me or asked of me, whether big or small, it would always be for my good and His glory. From that point on, I began to long for God’s guidance in all areas of my life.
And all it took was a pair of brown boots.