Readings: Exodus 17: 1-16, Psalms 78: 1-16
Have you ever wondered what the sole of your shoes see and what difficulties they endure throughout the time they spend protecting your feet? How often have they protected you from thorns, hot surfaces, icy surfaces, moist grass and rough paths? How often have you walked through urine, saliva and pesticides without knowing that the soles of your shoes had faced the danger for you and protected you from something that would make your stomach turn had they not been there? I think it is only when we walk through things like bubble gum and prestick on a hot day or through the parcels dogs leave behind on any day that we are actually made aware that we have been saved from a fate we would rather not embrace. It is unfortunate, however, that we are normally only aware that we have been saved from that fate after we have dragged the mess into the house with us and are needing to clean the floor and our shoes even if we don’t have to clean our feet.
Diabetics know all too well the importance of having a good pair of shoes that will protect them from sharp objects and from hot surfaces and from anything that will hurt their feet. For a person whose extremities are incredibly vulnerable to infections, a good pair of shoes are without doubt a firm favourite and a decent soul on those shoes are a life-line to a life that can be spent outdoors. How much more do they appreciate good shoes than someone who is able to be a little more careless with their feet?
When the Israelites had entered the wilderness and were getting to know God and God’s ways, I wonder how often they were unaware of how much God protected them and how often they knew what it was He protected them from? I wonder how often they took God’s presence and protection for granted and failed to see the incredible testimony that lay in that which they assumed was their right. God has made His presence known to them in visible and tangible ways and they still fail to appreciate everything that is taking place. God uses the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud and He uses the staff of Moses as a sign of His presence. He uses victory over their enemies as a sign of His protection. He uses the manna and quail and water as a sign of His provision. God is everywhere and at work in every area of their life, yet they fail to see the full extent of what they have endured in their travels because the LORD their God has done everything for them that they were unable to do for themselves.
How often do we fail to appreciate God’s goodness, God’s provision, God’s wisdom as we walk through the ups and downs of our life? How often do we assume God’s protection and provision as our right even when we make community harder for everyone rather than holding it together? I think we will never be fully aware of how often God carries us through situations because they are beyond our capacity to manage and I think that if we were a little bit more aware of God at work in our lives, we would bear incredible testimony to the one who gave us life, to the one who saved our life, to the one who teaches us daily how best to live our life. Open our eyes Lord, so that we would see those moments in which you are at work, those moments where we are not aware of your presence, of your protection and of your provision.