Joni shares that even though her feet don’t walk, God has taken her many places to share the Gospel of peace.
Can shoes you wear really be all that interesting?
Most people would say not… but me? Hi I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I may be one of the few people you know whose shoes are interesting…my shoes never wear out – that’s because I don’t walk. My shoes can last me ten years or more. And I'll be honest, these shoes of mine become friends – when I'm in bed, I glance over and see them over on the floor by my wheelchair, and I can easily recall the many places my shoes have taken me. I recall the pair of sandals I had years ago; sandals I wore to Africa. It was pretty dusty and dirty where we were, and every night when I came back to the hotel, Ken took out a garden hose and sprayed those shoes down. The next morning, they were back on my feet, taking me to outlying areas where we delivered wheelchairs to some needy disabled children. When I think of those sandals, I think of that incredible ministry trip to Africa!
I had another pair of shoes that got stained and soaked in a monsoon downpour in the Philippines back in the late 80’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. Those old shoes remained stained, but every time I wore them, I could smile, thinking about those dear people in the Philippines who came to Christ during that rainstorm. I will confess, when it came time to finally buy a new pair of shoes, it was kind of hard to let them go.
Ephesians 6:14-16 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.” 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, and 47 other countries. Remember that pair of sandals I spoke about? They lasted me over 12 years.
All in all, I think I’ve gone through about six pairs of shoes in over four decades of living in this wheelchair. In that time, I have spiritually walked down some pretty difficult roads. It reminds me of something a friend once wrote, “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 sitting in this wheelchair! So, friend, I want you to take heart. If God is sending you out on a difficult, rocky path, you can be sure He will equip you with sturdy shoes.
And if you need a little help in giving the Gospel, I’d like to send you three Gospel bracelets; the kind we use when we take wheelchairs around the world. Each bracelet has a different colored bead representing the salvation message – a black bead for sin; a red one for the blood of Christ; a white one meaning forgiveness. These bracelets are a great way to share the Good News of Jesus and I’d love to send you several Gospel bracelets. All you have to do is visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for your Gospel bracelets. Again, that’s joniandfriends.org. So friend, today, I want you to get out there and start walking and sharing the Gospel of peace with every step you take! Remember, 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.
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