I really, really needed a new pair of sandals. My cheap Walmart vinyl ones were giving me blisters and were more than just a little worn. The girl in me dreamt of getting brown ones made of real leather; ones that would be comfy, versatile and easy on my feet. Unfortunately, we were living on the edge financially week to week. Heck, I couldn’t even replace my cheap sandals with other equally cheap sandals, let alone real leather ones. We did have to eat after all.

So, I was feeling pretty defeated, wondering if God had forgotten all about me and my needs, the least of which were shoes. How many prayers for wisdom, for guidance, to be able to keep my house, to be able to buy clothes for my kids, for a better job, for any kind of sign that He was paying attention and actually cared about me could I continue to utter only to be met with silence? I was thouroughly discouraged and disillusioned. Did He care? Was He even there?

Still, I am not one to give up easily, even in the face of certain abandonment (or at least neglect), so I prayed though the voices in my head told me how foolish I was to think that God had me on His radar. Why would God care about giving me leather sandals when He obviously didn’t care about other, much weightier things like food, clothing and shelter? Discouragement had settled in for the long term.

Three days later, my aunt unexpectedly came for a visit. She lives several hours away so visits are few and far between and staying in touch can be difficult. (What that means is that she had absolutely no idea about my need for sandals.) We’d been chatting for a while when she suddenly blurted out “Oh Robin! I brought some shoes that I don’t want and was wondering if you’d like them.” One thing that she and I have in common is our shoe size. That might not sound like a big deal, but when you wear a ladies size 11, well, it is a big deal. As she reached into her bag my heart quickened. What if? What if? The small ember of hope that I had tenaciously been guarding began to glow brighter.

She pulled out a pair of black slip on mocassin-type shoes, which I gratefully accepted though my my insides wilted. “I knew it” sentiments rang unbidden in my head. Still, I needed shoes and these would do…..I guess. We went back to talking but inwardly I felt that God had played a cruel joke. Why raise my hopes only to dash them? I thought He was supposed to be loving. Is this what loving looks like?

A few minutes later, my aunt said “Oh, I almost forgot! I have another pair of shoes for you.” With my hope cautiously renewed, I waited anxiously. As I caught a glimpse of the shoes in her hands, I held my breath and tears pooled in my eyes. There in her hands were sandals. My sandals. My brown leather sandals, ladies size 11. And not just any brown leather sandals either. These were practically new $100-a-pair Naot brown leather sandals, only worn twice. The fit and feel of them on my feet was like heaven.

I wasn’t just being loved, I was being lavished on.

God doesn’t have to give us everything we want. As a matter of fact, I’m glad He doesn’t. I would be in a heap of trouble if He did! But I’m also glad that He knows I spell love “g-i-f-t-s” and He chooses to use gifts to spell out His love for me when I need to hear it most.

Matt 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

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