Strong Shoes

  • July 17, 2014
  • #8404

God equips us for walking on hard, stony paths by providing sturdy “spiritual” shoes sufficient for the journey.

Can the shoes you wear really be all that interesting? 

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and most people would say definitely not – but me? Well, I may be one of the few people you know whose shoes are very interesting because my shoes never wear out – obviously that’s because I do not walk. My shoes can last me ten years or more and still look brand new – especially underneath on the soles. I'll be honest, these shoes of mine have become such friends. When I'm in bed, I look at my shoes over on the floor by my wheelchair, and I can easily recall the many places my shoes have taken me. I remember one pair of sandals I had years ago – they were long-time favorites; they lasted me for ages, and they were the sandals I wore several times to Africa. It was pretty dusty and dirty where we were staying in Africa, and every night when I came back to our hotel, Ken took out a garden hose and sprayed my leather sandals down. The next morning, they were back on my feet, taking me to little villages where we delivered wheelchairs to needy disabled kids. When I think of those sandals, I think of all the years of ministry that Joni and Friends has enjoyed in Africa!

I had another pair of shoes that got stained when they became soaked in a monsoon downpour in the Philippines back in the late 1980’s – that was the storm that forced us all to stay inside; but oh, did that make for some rich conversations with the people we were huddled with. In fact, several even came to the Lord from that encounter. The stains remained on those shoes, but whenever I glanced at them, I smiled, thinking about those dear people in the Philippines who came to Christ during that rainstorm. I will confess, about seven or eight years later, when it came time to finally buy a new pair of shoes, it was sort of hard to let them go. 

There’s a special Bible verse that speaks about what we wear on our feet. You know it well – Ephesians 6:14-16 where it says:

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:14-16)

My feet don’t walk, but I consider them beautiful for the many times God has taken me to different places to share the Gospel of peace: Africa, the Philippines, as well as 50 other countries. Remember that pair of sandals that took me to Africa? They lasted me over 12 years. 

All in all, I think I’ve gone through about oh, maybe six pairs of shoes in more than four-and-a-half decades of living in this wheelchair. In that time, I have spiritually walked down pretty difficult roads. Much like what a friend once wrote. He said, “Each of us may be sure that if God sends us on stony paths He will provide us with strong shoes, and He will not send us out on any journey for which He does not equip us well.” God has sent me on some hard, stony paths and although I don’t put wear and tear on the bottoms of my shoes, I am so grateful that He has equipped me with sturdy “spiritual” shoes – my feet are shod with the Gospel of peace, and I have learned to stand firm in the Lord while sitting in this wheelchair! So, friend, take heart. If God is sending you out on a difficult, rocky path, you can be sure He will equip you with sturdy shoes. 

Today, I want you to get out there and start walking and sharing the Gospel of peace with every step you take! Remember, you may be sure that if God sends you on a stony path, He will provide you with strong shoes, and He will equip you well for every spiritual journey. Check out our resources at

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© Joni and Friends


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