“Ugh! I stepped in mud,” I said as I attempted to wipe the mud off my boot. It was a spring day, and my son and I were crossing the softball field to take our seats before my daughter’s game began.
“Huh. My shoes are made for mud,” my contemplative six-year old replied. He continued, “My shoes are made to get muddy. That’s why I have them!”
I laughed at how differently we viewed mud: I was trying my best to avoid it. He confidently walked right through it. I tried to wipe it off and keep my boot clean. He simply shrugged it off because after all, that’s what his shoes were made for!
What a difference a little change in perspective can make!
What might change if I recognize that yes, shoes are made for mud; keeping them away from mud is not the point? What limitations might be lifted if the goal was no longer to keep them clean, mud-free, and shiny? Where might I be willing to walk? With whom might I be willing to walk, as they walk through their own mud puddles?
Jesus was not only willing to enter the messy, muddy lives of those He came to save, but He even used the mud to bring about His purposes!
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’” (Luke 5:30-32).
Jesus did not shy away from muddy or messy lives because He never forgot why He came. He never forgot His mission.
“‘As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes…” (John 9:4-6). You know the rest: this man, who was born blind, could now see.
Jesus used the mud to bring forth the miracle. He could have healed Him any other way but chose to use the very thing I tried to avoid that day on the field: mud.
I am so grateful He does not avoid the mud or those who are stuck in the mud! Like David, we can say (or make our prayer), “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:1-2).
What a message of hope we have been given to share! The mud we may have to walk through to share it? Like Christ, let’s not forget our mission. The mud we prefer to wipe off our boots? Perhaps it’s the very thing He will use to bring forth a miracle, to open the eyes of the blind around us. The person who is in their own mud pit and is crying out for help? May He use us to share the truth and love of Christ so that they, too, may come to know the Rock of our Salvation.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
Yes, just as my son concluded his shoes were made for the mud, we too, in and through Christ, are made for the mud!