If you live in the US, you’re likely very aware that it’s the time of year where we take a step back, gorge on a delicious meal, and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is an often forgotten holiday that most people just find synonymous with turkey or black Friday sales, but it’s important to take some time during the year to truly evaluate and give thanks for all of the blessings in your life.
“On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.” Ephesians 6:15
The next part of armor that Paul talks about in Ephesians are the shoes (boots or sandals) of peace. As I’ve reflected on this passage and the season that we’re in (the season of Thanksgiving in the US), I discovered that when I think of expressing gratitude for something, I ultimately need to be at peace or make peace with it in order to truly be grateful for it. This may not be true in every single case, but when I thought about the many things that I’m truly grateful for, I realized that there was a sense of peace that I felt about each situation. I’m grateful for my family and despite their craziness and the turmoil/stress that sometimes occurs, I’m at peace with it and love them anyway. I’m grateful for the security that God has blessed me with (a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothing to wear) and I have a sense of peace that God will ultimately provide what I need since He knows far better than I do. “Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds.” Matthew 6:26
The biggest example I was thinking about is in handling the way I feel about my singleness. I’ve mentioned before that it’s a gift that many people would rather “return to sender,” but as I’ve prayed about it over the years I’ve discovered that God has changed my heart and given me solid footing in His peace about my “single situation.” I’ve finally been able to put my trust in God’s plan and He’s granted me His peace over it.
This year, as I’ve watched people around me struggle in human relationships or with components of relationships or even my friends who struggle with being single, I’m truly grateful for the season that God has me in. Because I’ve accepted the peace boots and decided to wear them proudly out into battle, I feel an inner sense of peace about being single, which has given me a better perspective and helped me to see the blessing in what once was a curse. I’m not only grateful for the singleness itself, I’m probably more thankful for the peace that He’s provided for me to get me through this season (or this lifetime) and to be obedient to His plan.
As we examine these shoes of peace, it’s important to bear in mind what exactly shoes are used for. Shoes traditionally protect your feet from the elements. Heat, rain, cold, snow. The shoes that Paul is referring to, though, are not flip flops like we have today. He was referring to protective armor that supported the wearers ankles, foot, and souls, similar to a sturdy pair of hiking boots that we would wear today. They usually had spikes on the bottom to keep the soldier upright in various sorts of terrain so that they would not lose their footing. On slippery, wet hillsides the spikes would grab hold and ground the warrior in place. That is what God’s peace does for us. It grounds us in place so that we can stand upright and fight in battle.
So as you think about what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving, evaluate what God has given you peace over. If you don’t find yourself feeling at peace, it may be better for you to ponder what’s holding you back from receiving God’s free gift of peace. He’s holding out the special shoes for you to take freely, so don’t leave them behind. Don God’s peace like the warrior you are and stand firm knowing that your heavenly father has prepared you for the fight you have to deal with each day.