It seems a lot of people I’ve talked to lately aren’t where they want to be. They’re waiting. They’re grieving. They’re fading. They’re doubting. They’re caught between where God has promised to lead them and where he has them for now, and it’s hard, brutally hard. They ask me what they should do and I tell them all the same thing: Trust, obey, and do the next thing, all the while remembering that God writes straight with crooked lines. Then I pray that God will give them iron shoes, shoes that will allow them to “find the unendurable, endurable, the impossible, possible,” shoes that will enable them, like they enabled Noah, Abraham, Sara, Moses, Joshua and countless others in the Bible to travel where no roads are visible. (Elisabeth Elliot, Secure in the Everlasting Arms)

Shoes like the ones Bo & Kate are wearing.

Bo Stern is a pastor at my mom’s church in Bend, Oregon. In 2011 her husband Steve was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” for which there is no cure. It is expected that Steve will die within 3-5 years of his diagnoses, and Bo, in her bravery, is using her blog, and a new book, to show quite definitively that “God is salvage artist, reclaiming and recreating every broken piece into something beautiful. Strong. Worthy.”

Kate Merrick is known simply as “Daisy’s mom.” But there is nothing simple about the crooked path she has walked since 2009 when her 5-year old daughter was diagnosed with her first Wilm’s tumor. With an unyielding love and thankfulness for Jesus, Kate and her family have shown a watching world that love spreads faster than cancer and that their hope most certainly does not lie in their circumstances, but instead with the one who has given them their iron shoes. The Merrick’s gratitude for their suffering and for their savior is absolutely remarkable, even as they seek alternative treatment in Israel to try to save Daisy’s life for a third time. “We feel thankful for so much,” Kate says, “Even though tears flow and minds grapple, even though knees get sore and hearts are too heavy to carry. We have much to thank God for.”

These women dare me to be braver, more grateful, and increasingly dependent on Jesus. They show me, as Jesus shows them, how to walk straight on crooked lines, how to travel confidently where the roads are not marked, and how to show the world that “the pathway to holiness is located right where you are. In those circumstances, in those relationships, in that tiredness, in that
challenge.” (Elisabeth Elliot, Secure in the Everlasting Arms)

So if you find yourself today caught between where God has promised to lead you and where he has you for now, remember: trust, obey, and do the next thing. His grace is right there where you need it, he will give you iron shoes, and you, too, will find the strength to be brave.

“Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so
shall thy strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:25, KJV