Monday, April 11, 2011

My (Muddy) Black Suede Boots

I set the last bag of groceries on the counter and turned around, it was then I noticed muddy footprints had followed me through the kitchen.

Oh, lovely.  I glanced down at my boots and the offending culprits were discovered.  My suede boots that used to be jet-black were now a muddy-chocolate color and I wasn’t too thrilled about the new look!  First of all, because it’s a fashion faux pas to wear brown with black, but second of all, because my previously crème colored kitchen rugs were now coated in dirt and leaves.

If only we had an attached garage, I thought, I wouldn’t have to endure this kind of persecution! I wouldn’t have to trek through the swamp of melted snow and mud next to our driveway when I’m unloading groceries from our van.

Now step with me out of my muddy boots and into our church’s sanctuary.  I’m standing in the back as I scan the room in search of a good seat…a padded seat.

Our church is temporarily meeting in a school gym while we build a new building as we got too big for our britches in the old building.  As such, chairs are set up each Sunday morning to transform a basketball court into the Court of God’s Presence.  All of these chairs are folding chairs, some are the standard hard metal ones but some are more like the pillows at the Hilton: soft and padded (but with no little mints underneath, last I checked).

Those were the ones I wanted.  Because, gosh darn it, I wanted to worship in comfort on a Sunday morning.

Since there were none left, I was debating between arm-wrestling little Mrs. Smith or my four-year-old son’s best friend for their padded seat when a question popped into my mind,

“Would you still worship me if you faced TRUE persecution?”

My first reaction was, “But Lord, sitting in a hard chair for two hours IS persecution!”  Yeah...that response went over like a lead balloon.  Ever get the feeling like God is rolling his eyes at you?

Okay, okay, sometimes I’m…lame.

This last week I’ve been devouring the book, "Radical", by David Platt.  Warning: do NOT read that book if you are comfortable in your religion and want to stay that way.  By the time you get through Chapter 1, you may feel like you’re hanging upside down from the Tilt-a-Whirl ride at the fair.

The cover of the book sums it up, “Tacking back your faith from the American Dream”, and the words inside the book have been exposing just that in my life: how materialistic and petty I’ve become in my walk with God.

Platt shares with a humble heart a very different kind of faith than what I’m used to in America.  A radical-kind-of-faith that he experienced during his numerous visits to parts of Asia, where the government forbids open worship of our Savior.

These Christ-followers don’t consider muddy boots and metal chairs persecution.  They sneak under the cover of darkness at night and slip into small rooms to worship God in the homes of fellow believers.  Once they are inside, they remove muddy boots that have trekked through murky woods and dark alleys as they risked their lives to disobey a law that defies God’s own command to “not forsake the gathering of believers” (Hebrews 10:25)

They quietly collect on the floor in a cramped room void of air conditioning in the season of stifling heat and during the winter months, they rub together hands that are chilled to the bone.

In this setting, a hard metal chair would be a luxury.

In this setting, persecution-TRUE persecution, means being captured by those opposed to Christianity and having your tongue cut out.

In this setting, at any moment, the doors could burst open and police could pour into the room with guns and clubs, grabbing whomever they desired and bringing them in to be tortured.

In this setting, persecution means false accusations and imprisonment.

Inn this setting, persecution means losing your life.

The only believers that are present for this church service are those that came to truly worship their Savior.  They aren’t present to socialize with friends or hear a thought-provoking message.  They aren’t there to sit in comfortable chairs in an air-conditioned room.  They aren’t attending to have a spectacular experience with a live worship band performing under a display of bright lights.

They have come to “The Underground Church” because they love Jesus.  It’s that simple.

When I remember these believers and their courage, my heart feels heavy, what has my personal definition of persecution become; a house too small for a family that’s growing big?  Having to eat at McDonalds instead of The Olive Garden on date-night? A metal chair instead of a padded chair at my church service? A detached garage and having to step through a mud puddle instead of an attached garage and clean boots?

Next time I scrub the mud off my boots and sit in a cold, metal chair, I’m going to take a moment to say a prayer for my fellow believers in Asia (and all around the world) that are risking their lives to serve the same God that I sometimes expect to serve ME.

I’m thanking God for muddy boots to remind me to keep things simple: love Jesus and worship him for who He truly is!


  1. Thank you! You are so right! I get sick of whining christians and all their 'hardships!' God is bigger and gives us more than we need! That book sounds great!

  2. And sometimes, I must admit, I am that "whining Christian"--ouch! I needed my butt kicked a bit to remember what REAL hardships are, thank you, God for that (: You can borrow the book, I'm almost done!


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