She tells me they fit. “Ballet shoes need to be that tight,” she says.
I’m looking at the worn-out gray of the leather where she’s danced and danced on that shoe, and I’m thinking it’s been two years probably since I bought them for her.
Maybe she’s the dance expert, but this momma knows too small when I see it.
When you have to crinkle your whole foot up to cram it into the shoe and then whisk your finger back before it gets trapped behind your heel, that means it’s time to let those beloved dance shoes go, baby girl.
So, she plops down onto the bench at the studio reluctantly and I tell her to show the teacher and let the expert decide.
About two minutes later, we’re surrounded by boxes and shoes as we skip size after size to find one that finally fits correctly.
It hits my heart as I watch my girl cling to the old and the worn:
Am I cramming myself right down all squashed and painful into life that doesn’t fit anymore?
Am I stubbornly holding onto what isn’t working just because it’s here, because it’s known, because the ill-fitting discomfort of this seems better than the unknown with all its newness and risk and…dare I say it….change?
Am I saying I want to know more of God, but then clinging tight-fisted to the same-old, same-old patterns of faith and even sin?
Jesus saw this man, crippled for 38 years, lying out by the pools of Bethesda, the miracle waters they said, the place where the lame, the blind, and the paralyzed congregated in hopes of a healing.
The man didn’t cry out to Jesus to “have mercy.” He didn’t have friends carry him on a stretcher and lower him down through a roof to get to Jesus’ feet. He didn’t ask for healing at all, not like others in the Gospels who were desperate to get to Jesus.
He laid by the pool of Bethesda, just laid there because he’d lain there so long.
It was Jesus who initiated the miracle, and He began with a question, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6 NIV).
Did he want to get well? Wasn’t he there at the pool of Bethesda and hadn’t he been there so long? Wasn’t this what you did when you needed a miracle?
Of course, he wanted to get well!
Yet, we can say all the right things, make all the right promises, repeat all the good-Christian phrases and still miss the honest truth:
That maybe we don’t want to get well.
Maybe we don’t want to know Him more, don’t want to be healed, to be transformed from the inside out, to obey Him, to follow Him wherever He leads.
If we did, wouldn’t we be desperate to be at His feet? Wouldn’t we be screaming loud enough to be heard over the crowd, “Have mercy, Son of David!!!?” Wouldn’t we be begging friends to bring us to Christ and crawling on our hands and knees through a crowd of people just so we could brush the corner of His robe?
Instead, too often we lie there and wait for God to come to us.
And when Jesus does come and offers us more, we can make excuses like that man waiting by miracle water.
The man said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7 NIV).
Maybe this was genuine hopelessness.
Or maybe it was justification, excuse-making, avoiding what radical obedience might cost him.
Either way, Grace invited him in. Grace held that hand right out.
Do you want to get well?
And isn’t that Grace? Never belligerent. Never forcing, demanding. Always inviting.
He offers us more.
Will we, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk?’ Or will we choose to stay right there, pinned to a mat surrounded by the lame, clinging to the past?
Today, let’s put aside the ill-fitting, worn out shoes we’ve been cramming ourselves into. Let’s stop doing what we’ve always done. Let’s stop justifying the inactivity.
And let’s run hard after Jesus. Let’s learn how to dance in new shoes.
Do you want to get well?
Want to read more about the questions God asks?
Check out my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord, available in paperback and for the Kindle and nook!
Originally published April 4, 2014
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.