We’ve had a pretty snowy winter this year here in central Ohio. In these first weeks of March, we are just emerging from a thick white blanket of snow that has basically hidden our grass since November. These last four months, green grass has only existed in my happy place. But, when the snow finally started to melt and we saw some 5’s in the weather forecast, and it wasn’t the ONLY number in the forecast, I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. There IS hope. Spring WILL come this year. This winter in particular, it just seemed like spring would never arrive. And now it’s all but here. And it’s wonderful.
One of the first days of warmer weather, the beginning of our blessed spring thaw, occurred, of course, on my weekly day to get groceries. Of course. Not to be daunted by the slush, I threw on my waterproof boots over top of my pant legs so as not to experience the dreaded soaked pant leg from the mid-calf down. There are few things I like less than that feeling. But I digress. Eager to get out of the house alone (I really do love my kids), I threw on these boots and headed out into the slush. Given that I had the proper footwear in place, I actually began to enjoy traipsing through the thawing snow in the store parking lots. There’s something satisfying about smashing a big wet pile of melting snow after a particularly harrowing winter. Take that, snow! You won’t reign forever!
I’m always amazed on days like these, when it has just started to warm up, at how other folks who are out and about are dressed. These folks are just totally ill-prepared! Flats in this slush? Are you nuts, lady? Excuse me, sir, but it seems that someone has stolen the bottom of your pants. Oh, those are shorts? Did you know that it’s only 50 and there is indeed still snow on the ground. There’s nothing worse than trying to pick your way through uncertain footing in the wrong shoes (or lack of pants!). When I used to teach school, I faced more than one fire drill, picking my way through a muddy field, in a very wrong shoe situation. Terrible. Just no good.
But, I don’t mind being out in the snow, the slush, the mud, the puddles, what have you, if my feet are properly prepared. This recent foray out into the slush reminded me of Paul’s famous “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians. In the first five verses of that passage, he mentions standing firm or taking your stand four different times. And what do we stand on? Our feet of course! Verse 15 says have “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Just like I prefer to have my physical feet prepared for whatever weather I may face, I also need to have my spiritual feet ready. This verse tells me that directly: “feet fitted with … readiness.” So, how, spiritually, am I to be “ready”? The answer is there — our readiness “comes from the gospel of peace.” To me, that translates as Scripture. How am I ready to face all that I must walk through in this life? By having my feet rooted in God’s word. Certainly there are many other important aspects of the armor that Paul describes in Ephesians 6 which are equally essential in facing our journey through life, but this one stands out to me because of my recent tromp through the snow and because of how many people I see who call themselves Christians who just don’t know their Bible at all. Now, before you hear any arrogance in this discussion, please allow me to admit that I am not the ultimate Bible scholar of the world. I’m not. And I’m not claiming to have the perfect daily Bible reading record either. This is as much a challenge to myself as it is to anyone who is reading this. Do we really reverence the Word of God like we should? I know, these words were written a long time ago, but the Bible also promises that it is “living and active, sharper than any double edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). It is God’s word that makes us ready for whatever we might have to face. It is his truth, found in his Word, that helps us navigate through life’s snow piles and mud puddles — our brokenness, our messes, our decisions, even our successes. We can’t count on our own emotions to point us in the right direction for processing life’s events. We can’t count on our own logic or intellect to figure out which path to take sometimes. It’s God’s word that directs us. It’s his truth that serves as the lens through which we must process all our events. It is what makes our feet ready to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb 12:1). And we know so little of this book. We spend so little time trying to know it more. Could there be any more important book? Any better way to spend our time?
It seems to me that we have two choices. We can either slosh through life with our feet ill-prepared without the proper foundation for each step, or we can have our feet fitted with a readiness that comes from knowing God’s word, knowing it deep in our hearts. So that when that bad news comes, my feet are ready, standing firm in God’s truth. And when I make a mess of things, my feet are ready to move down the path of repentance. And when God plants a dream in my heart, my feet are ready to be obedient and take the next step. I want my feet to be ready to run down that path marked out for me.