In Desperate Search of Sandals


Inside the Visitor's Centre in Williams Lake

I am just an ordinary guy, and just like the rest of my specie, I am not at all difficult when shopping for clothing. The first pair of pants that fit, I buy. Unless they look too feminine on me, that is; like if they are pink or have a bright floral design. A t-shirt is just a t-shirt, so to me they are all the same. I try to avoid wearing those incorporating swear words and obscene pictures, however! But there is this one item of clothing that I dread shopping for:

SANDALS!!!

For some reason, most of them out there were intended for men whose feet aren't designed the same way mine are. There is always something wrong with them: a bump in the wrong side of the sole; narrow toes that cause that particular part of my foot's anatomy to turn an unnaturally purplish hue; a tightening at the front of my ankle; a scissor sharp outcropping that negatively affects the back of my heelů

When I finally find a pair, I always feel like I've defeated a major dragon. Imagine my anxiety at the beginning of the summer two years ago when I realized that my sandals were worn out! How was this possible? I had treated them with loyalty and utmost respect! I mean, I had kept them in the top of my closet! How could they fall apart after just twenty-five years of such pampering? Aren't sandals meant for a lifetime?

I still can remember buying that pair. I was about to move away from my home country, and I had spent all day looking for them. After visiting every possible shoe store in my hometown, I was becoming a tiny bit discouraged. My cousin, who was shopping with me, was way beyond discouraged. In fact, I think she would have thrown me into the nearest garbage can if she could have lifted me that high. But I couldn't help it. Every pair I tried on were either uncomfortable, the wrong color, or they showed too much of my foot! (Can you believe how people wear sandals that show ALL of their foot? How indecent!)

There was only one shoe store left, and to anyone's disbelief, they had just the pair. They were comfortable, they were the right color, AND they covered all but two tiny slits of my foot! Needless to say, I purchased this pair and proceeded to cherish them forever. After all, I wished to avoid another experience where my family members were tempted to throw me into the garbage!

But I found myself back at it; and instead of my impatient cousin, I was now show-shopping with my two strong, impatient sons! They WOULD be able to throw me into the garbage! Seeing no cans around however, I relaxed a little, and with inserts in my hand, I began walking up and down the aisles of Costco. What a relief it was to find just the perfect pair, right there in that first store! They fit me perfectly, they were the right color, they accommodated my inserts nicely, AND they didn't show too much of my foot! Wow, that was too easy!

Imagine my despair when, a few weeks later, I discovered that we had lost one of those precious sandals! I was ready to strangle someone! How could something so valuable be lost!

It was with dread that I again took up my search for the perfect pair of sandals this year. I first went to the same store where I had purchased that last perfect pair, but they didn't have anything this year that fit my rather complex list of specifications. None of the local shoe stores were of any help, either. Eventually I found a pair in Rochester, NY that fit all but one of my criteria: They put me in the ideal situation for inviting those unwelcome guests called blisters!

I had to fly to British Columbia to finally find a pair, in an obscure quaint town called Williams Lake, in a Canadian Tire, of all places! Our visit to that store had not been motivated with my feet in mind, but to locate a cooler for the food we had just purchased for our trip. But in passing the shoe display, I noticed a pair of sandals similar to the ones I had seen in Rochester. There was just one pair left, and what good fortune! They were just my size! And to make matters even better, they were on sale, 50% off!

There was only one problem. Although those sandals had just the right number of holes for me, my kids seemed to think they weren't sandals at all, but sneakers with three narrow breaks in the fabric on each side! For some reason they refuse to call my new shoes sandals! Instead, they call them "shandals"!

Kids!

Reflecting on this adventure, I discovered that everyone's search to fill the inner hole in their hearts leaves them wanting. Workaholics, addicts, cherishers of pet sins, churchperformanceaholics, friendsaholics, spouseaholics, musicaholics, bookaholics, anykinfofaholics, all feel that something is not quite right, that something seems to be amiss in their lives. And the search goes on.

Only One can perfectly fill this inner hole: "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Ps 16:11 NIV); "Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!" (Rom 15:13)

Only One can give us a real purpose in life! Our search ends up perfectly satisfactory in Him: "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels - everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." (Col 1:16 The Message)

P. S. Are you desperately searching out a pair of sandals? Have you tried a quaint little town called Williams Lake in Northern BC?

Nothing is too far away to fulfill our need. Or are there exceptions?

Rob Chaffart

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