How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
- Isaiah 52:7 / Romans 10:15
Don't we love good news?
Good news or tidings always lifts us up. There is enough negative news around. In fact, we create our own when we fall or fault spiritually or let ourselves down. We begin to kick and chastise ourselves until we can't take any more of our own thoughts and words. We need someone to come along with some gentleness and kindness that will lift us up.
The Isaiah scripture speaks of Jesus Christ, but Paul expands it in Romans to also include Jesus' followers. How beautiful are those feet that walk the extra mile to attach a floatation device to a soul drowning in a sea of hopelessness? They go out of their way to bring the good news of hope and peace to our weary souls.
Luke 15:4-7 speaks of the lost sheep who wandered away from the flock. This sheep had his mind on other things and detached himself. The story talks of how the shepherd overlooked the reason why he left, but just the fact that he had gone, and went to look for him.
When depicted in children's picture books, the lost sheep is always in the mountains, as much of Israel is mountainous.
How beautiful on the mountains were those feet of the shepherd, as came over the rise to see his lost sheep whom he cherished as profoundly as the ones he left back in the compound.
When we are down, it isn't very easy to raise our heads. It would have been the same for this sheep. As his eyes were down, dejected in his dilemma, the first things he would have seen of his shepherd were his feet. That instant recognition, the familiarity, "I know those feet!”
Then the sheep looked up higher to see that very familiar face smiling, as the shepherd bent down to hug the sheep and comfort him. The sheep knew he was lost and did not need the shepherd to rebuke him, and the shepherd didn’t.
The shepherd didn’t say, “Well, you deserve to be lost. It was foolish of you to do this. Couldn’t you see it was a stupid thing to do?” The sheep didn't need those words, he had been thinking them since he got lost. This was a wise shepherd.
Likewise, when we are down or not travelling well, we don't need the weights of condemnation, we know we're a bit lost. We need the floatation devices. We need those words of encouragement to lift our spirits and give us the hope necessary for buoyancy. We'll be ok when we get back up if someone just gives us a non-condemnatory hand.
When that someone comes along without condemnation — words that state the obvious — and gently brings words of hope and love, peace begins to flood through us, washing the burdens away. Yes, the feet of those helpers are beautiful. They are on the mountain, and we are in a valley, and their outstretched hand is held down to us saying, "grab on, and I will lift you up."
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your people who, without condemnation, have helped me through my trials and the valleys. Thank you for their understanding that I don't need blame and admonition, I am already doing that to myself. I just need a hand. I just need some gentleness and patience. Please help me when I offer help to others, that I might remember to put on my beautiful feet of peace and love before I start the journey toward them.