Updated: May 8, 2022
I’m neck-deep in an intensely personal crisis, the most painful of my life to date. I’ve spent most of the last few months seeking God and building our relationship that I, a decade after receiving my salvation, should have already had with Him. Thankfully, God was waiting for me with arms outstretched. Unlike us, He’s always faithful, and never more so than during a trial. That's when He has our undivided attention. As C.S. Lewis pointed out in The Problem of Pain, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
In my quest for answers, I began to seek out videos from pastors I trust on topics like prayer, suffering, and discernment. I was between sermons when a non-religious video caught my attention: “The Oldest Handmade Shoe Store in Korea. Process of Making Hiking Boots.” It looked interesting, and I paused just long enough for it to start playing automatically.
Before I could scroll past, something stopped me. I watched as the shoemaker started with a template, drawn-out and cut down into small pieces. He traced the shapes onto the leather and other materials, then cut them out and spread them on his worktable. It looked like a jumbled mess and in no way resembled footwear. But the craftsman knew what he was looking at and where each piece would go. Slowly and patiently, he cut, stitched, glued, and hammered.
A minute or so into the video, God spoke to me. “You know that plan you keep asking me about? It’s a process just like this. I had it all in mind before I ever made the first cut. Every piece has a purpose and a place. I can’t be rushed, and nothing must be done out of order. This is My custom design for your life. I know those cuts hurt, and right now, all the bits scattered across My workbench look like a mess to you. But I’m the expert; trust Me.”
About halfway through the video, I could finally make out the rough shapes that would eventually become a custom pair of hiking boots. I cried as I watched those shoes come together and thought about what God had just spoken to my heart. I’ve been praying for some hint about what He’s up to and how He’ll make these terrible circumstances work for my good. I even went so far as to try to make suggestions.
Of course, I’d never consider telling the shoemaker how to ply his trade, so who am I to question or direct God? As talented as that shoemaker is, he can’t hold a candle to the Creator of the Universe. And I can be sure that all God’s plans are perfect. He never makes mistakes, and no detail is too small to escape His notice. I can't see how all these pieces are going to come together, but I really don't need to do anything more than be patient.
Those boots weren’t made in a hurry. So it is with most of the Lord’s good works. His timing is difficult to appreciate when you’re desperate for help, but it’s always just right. And when God steps back and hands you the final product, you’ll be perfectly equipped to walk with Him.