Here’s a perplexing pebble problem; how far should you walk in your favourite, most-comfortable shoes or boots when you have a stone in them?
It’s a good analogy for life. The answer of course is that you remove the stone, pebble or piece of grit straight away, but often we tolerate the smaller obstacle until a convenient time arrives for its removal.
We often talk about the ‘elephant in the room’, that ubiquitous thing that no one dare mention, but far more important perhaps, is the pebble in your shoe.
We walk through life with these “pebbles” affecting our walk, conversation and ability to to commit to life, challenges, responsibilities or relationships. They are such small things, but they matter, and they hurt or cause discomfort. Instead of removing them, we tolerate them. The big pebbles of life are generally negotiated and removed quickly, but the smaller, much smaller things are endured until they cause severe damage.
We’re walking with a pebble in our shoe.
Here’s a challenge. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. That sounds noble, and it is. But do it with a pebble in your shoe, and things suddenly feel different. What started as a welcomed, faith-inspired, radical challenge can so quickly be accompanied by distracting faith-destroying discomfort.
Our encouragement from Scripture to “Trust in the lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths make straight your paths”(Prov 3:5-6) is short lived if, as we travel those paths, we have a pebble in our shoes. It’s important. What are you going to do about that pebble in your shoe? Laziness dictates that you will ignore it until soreness or a blister appears, rather than stopping, removing your shoe and removing the offending culprit!
Walking with a limp
Reality check – you are not Jacob, you just have a pebble in your shoe!
We can choose to limp through life because of a single, small pebble. Whatever you might choose to call that pebble is your call, but it in reality it could be more realistically be called unforgiveness, rejection, habitual sin, passivity, idolatry or a whole number of other issues. All of them are “non-heavenly” – things we will not encounter in Heaven.
What is your pebble called? You may not have one now, but every so often something slips into your shoe and it is generally the same thing as before, and you know what it is. We’ve made a big issue of Jacob wrestling with God and walking away from that encounter with a limp. Reality check – you are not Jacob, you just have a pebble in your shoe!
Small pebbles tolerated for too long
There may be things in your life that you are responsible for, that you have tolerated for too long, things like prayerlessness, lack of faith, contempt or ungodliness. Yes, no-one understands your pain and struggles like you, but the Lord knows, and He’s not hoodwinked! You crave attention but no one is giving it … time for some attention-seeking behaviour perhaps? We can live a life of dilemma’s or we can live in faith and obedience, we always have a choice. Keep yourself in the love of God! (Jude 20-12) It’s a challenge we all face but the easiest way of dealing with it is deal with it now – identify that pebble in your shoe and then don’t resolve to do something about it, do it!
It is so much easier once the pebble is out of your shoe!