Once We Give Them Feet


I’m folding up chairs because that’s what you do after eating lunch at church.

Or at least until you run into Harry.

Harry stops my work. He tells me that he and his wife, Margaret, have been praying for our family. They’ve heard something of the story surrounding our move to Winnipeg, but now Harry, 82, has some stories he wants to share with me. And he’s a much better storyteller.

Harry grew up during a war and then immigrated to Canada when he was 16. He didn’t know English. Just Russian and German. But when he found a bible written in English, he still knew enough words to ask God for help.

“God taught me to read that bible,” he says. And then his eyes twinkle, hinting at the deeper truth tucked inside his words, and I sense in Harry an intimacy born of many fireside chats. l wonder how much teaching we miss from God because we are too comfortable in our geography, physical or spiritual. A foreigner will take only so many steps without faith.

“Maybe your story is a little like mine,” he tells me. He lived in British Columbia, but his wife was from here and she missed her family. They moved back to Manitoba. “But I would have liked to stay in British Columbia,” he admits.

“Oh, I’d prefer British Columbia over Manitoba, too,” I say.

He smiles, though a tear shines under his right eye. “But God blesses you wherever He sends you.” He grins from a deeply rooted testimony. “Matthew,” he says, “God will bless you and prosper you here. He will do it.”

I’m still listening to Harry long after the tables and chairs have been folded up and put away. We have the large room mostly to ourselves now.

“You’re still young. Now is your time to learn how to cash in on His promises. Learn to trust Him. He’s so faithful.”

Something within me rejoices. As he speaks those words, I think back over my own fireside chats from this past week, especially those before bed, when I huddled up close to the psalms for warmth and security.

I have a history of quenching the spirit. Too often, I seek comfort and instant coffee (but only metaphorically, I promise!). And yet I sense a greater call: God’s community must learn to walk as foreigners in this world, trusting our King’s promises, regardless of the enemy or the kind of geography we face.

As a boy, Harry began to learn something about how to cash in on the promises. Now he’s ready to move in. Like Jonathan.

“Come on now, let’s go across to these uncircumcised pagans. Maybe God will work for us. There’s no rule that says God can only deliver by using a big army. No one can stop God from saving when he sets his mind to it.” (I Samuel 14:6)

Later in the evening, my wife is getting ready to leave for a funeral in Alberta. Just as she and the boys do their last goodbyes at the door, both of them dart off, running.

“You can’t leave yet!” Henry yells. “You need something to remember–” They run down the hallway, and Henry enters our bedroom. James follows. But then James makes it back to us first, with a small book in his small hands. He reaches up to his Mum and gives her a copy of ‘The Pocket Promise Book’ by David Wilkerson. And now Henry’s holding up the bible I’ve been using during my fireside chats.

We're stunned. And our hearts melt.

Because His promises are vanquishing and beautiful, once we give them feet.


22 thoughts on “Once We Give Them Feet

  1. I don’t know why you’re there, but I know God does.

    So many things have changed since our move almost seven years ago (not to a new country, not even a new state, just new). Sometimes I wonder if those changes would have occurred if we’d stayed. And there’s no way to know what an alternate universe might have yielded. We are here, and this is our life. And somehow God is in it all.

  2. Just stop it. I can’t take it. My eyes are brimming at the thought of your little sons bringing “what you need to remember” on their little feet. I can’t take it. I can barely see to write this comment.
    Oh, and please send Harry to Georgia. I’d love to hear his stories too. ;)
    One more question Matthew, we are related? Somehow? I realize we look nothing alike but you feel like a brother to me. So glad you are back. :)

    • Yes, Danelle. We’re family. No more forgetting, okay? :)

      So thankful for you. And for your words, here and at your blog. (Note to anyone else reading this: Go to Danelle’s blog and subscribe to get her posts delivered to your inbox. You’ll discover a new sister with a rich and articulate heart!)

      D, you’re a blessing. :)

  3. I just lost my other comment, but, ahem, my point is that God has used your post today to assure me that no matter where He sends me, there He will be.

  4. Well, as an email subscriber, I have received your post and read it fully and I am so glad that I did. At just the time when I am asking God about His faithfulness in a new adventure, He assures me that wherever He sends me, there He will be.

  5. I LOVE when Harry talks to me in Church, He still remembers me from when I was about 6 years old (which was 17 years ago). Great Post!

    • And isn’t THAT exactly the kind of person we ought to be at church (or anywhere, for that matter)? Someone who just makes others feel loved — through our actions and conversations? Thanks for sharing here, Josh! :)

  6. lucky me–checking in at 7:40 Seattle time and link is fine. And so worth the read. Matthew all I’ve been hearing God say to me is ‘wait.’ Just, ‘wait.’ A friend told me to read Andrew Murray’s devotional 31 Days of Waiting on God. I did and I am. Sounds like while you’re waiting God is honoring his Word and His work in you. This was just beautiful.

    • I find it funny, I must say, how timing and waiting have played a role in this post. :) I’m so convinced God wants to teach us how to walk in the wait. And I sense this kind of walking will often look different than we expect. Thanks so much for stopping by today — at 7:40 (PT). :)

  7. The post has landed! And it is beautiful, and it brought tears to my eyes. I think we are in a time of learning to trust. It actually feels more like some sort of crazy bootcamp for learning to trust. I have to be honest. Sometimes I tire in these times, but I know He is faithful. Thank you for the reminder :)

    • Thank you for such an honest comment, Lori. I’m also getting pretty tired of the “crazy boot camp”. :) But there are moments.. when I look into Harry’s eyes…into Jonathan’s eyes…even into my own kids’ eyes… that I can see the promise, vanquishing and beautiful. I hope you could see into their eyes here and feel some of that. We’ll all see new colours in the morning. He promises. Keep looking. (A prayer for you in the meantime. :)

  8. Matt…link brings me to dead page!!

    *Christa Allan*

    *Love Finds You in New Orleans, 2012 *

    *Edge of Grace, 2011*

    *Walking on Broken Glass, 2010* Contact Me [image: LinkedIn] [image: Facebook] [image: Twitter] [image: WordPress]

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