I have to throw away my shoes. They’re fine shoes, my go-to shoes for a quick dash out the door, but there’s something about those brown shoes that make Doug’s friends see red. They haven’t said anything outright, they don’t really seem to take note, but there’s a strange coincidence between their worst occasions and my choice of footwear. Yup, it’s official, the shoes have got to go.
There have been other times that I’ve worn those shoes around Doug’s friends with no turmoil, and other rough times when I was wearing different shoes, so I know there’s no direct correlation. The observation has been made enough times, however, that it has become a running joke. Bad night? Wrong shoes. Should’ve known. And thus begins the newest superstition.
I’m not a superstitious sort, but many are. They put some merit to the fear of black cats and walking under ladders (although, caution around a ladder seems prudent). Finger crossing, rabbit’s feet, and lucky t-shirts (and unlucky shoes) are on an ever-growing list of things to keep handy or avoid. Where do these odd ideas come from? I’m beginning to learn…
Something unusually good or bad may occur, and we look for the rhyme or reason behind it, the cause to the effect. Sometimes an identifiable cause exists, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, we keep searching. If there’s a similar event later, we study the previous event to find matching facts. We’re willing to go so far as to recall wardrobe choices or pocket contents to come up with an answer. It’s somewhere in our human nature, we want there to be a predictable cause, so that we can have some control over what may affect us. Some people become absolutely crippled by the need to do everything just right, lest they miss something and get blindsided by the randomness of life. Superstition to the extreme.
There’s an easier, less stressful way to live. Get to know the One who knows all things and is in charge of keeping the world spinning at a consistent rate and direction. Granted, He allows pleasant and unpleasant circumstances to touch people who may be declared good or bad – rain on the just and unjust. He also makes two massive promises that He alone is able to keep. One, nothing happens without His foreknowledge and approval – it can’t touch you before it has gone through His hands. (Job) Two, He will cause all things, good or ill, to work together for the good of those who trust Him. (Romans 8:28) It could take a while, it could get ugly before the dust settles, but He’s got a plan to make the best of even the worst circumstance.
He’s constantly working on connecting unique lives for two objectives: first, to draw people to Himself, and second, to transform them into His character, fit to live with Him forever. This may mean that the sweetest lady you know is suddenly thrown into the hospital for three weeks by an accident involving a drunk driver and the death of her husband of 60 years. What looks horribly unfair to us may be a specific assignment to reach some nurses, a doctor, your niece the candy-striper, or that person you’ve been praying for for years who is in the next bed, scheduled for critical surgery.
The next time you need to find a cause, go to the original cause of all things, Jesus, and trust Him to affect your life in excellent ways. Let go of the need to be in control, and with it, the oppressive false responsibility for bad things happening.
I’m still going to get rid of those shoes. Spring is here, and I much prefer going barefoot!