Shoe Drop God?
Founder, Refined Family
Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and an 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord.
During the late 19th century and early 20th century tenement living was a common experience with the dawning of the manufacturing boom, especially in New York City. The thin floors of the apartments were designed with bedrooms directly on top of each other.
“Waiting for the other shoe to drop” became a common phrase among tenants with noisy upstairs neighbors. When, after a long day of work, an upper neighbor took off his shoes and dropped them, typically one would drop and then the other. Sometimes the neighbor realized it may have been loud and let the second shoe down more easily. The unsteady pattern of sounds would drive the hearer mad with expectation after time. You may have experienced a similar feeling when someone knocked the familiar “shave and a haircut” knock but left you hanging waiting for the “two bits.”
But over the years, “waiting for the other shoe to drop” has developed a negative connotation of waiting for the next “bad thing” to happen. Maybe it’s the idea that “bad things come in threes” or maybe it’s just the human reflex of bracing ourselves for more, but we can probably all relate to “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
If you are a believer and you have walked any time on this earth you will know that trials often don’t travel alone. We see this in the lives of Job where trials came quickly and continuously or Joseph where the suffering came constantly over a span of years. Whatever path God has given you, sometimes in the midst of trials we can form a cynical attitude toward God and we begin to wait for Him to do something else to us.
When most people ask me about my story, their main focus is the loss of my daughters and husband, but what they don’t know is the steady trials that have come over the span of years since the 2014 tornado. My journey afterward has come not only with grief but with the overwhelming impact of PTSD on me and my children that has included nightmares, triggers, nagging fear, and other symptoms.
As I have worked to try to find security in the Lord and His promises, there have been many times when it seemed futile. Friends would encourage me to get back up and keep going and, inevitably, it seemed like almost immediately the next shoe would drop. Take for instance the time just this past year when a bay window exploded inward during a storm, showering our family room with glass just as I was rushing to get my youngest into the safe room. Things like that just seem like they put me right back to where I started.
And I could give you so many other examples (sometimes it seems like God has a LOT of shoes!) – relational losses, betrayals, car accidents, illness, dementia diagnosis with a parent…the list seems endless. But at the end of a typical day I am tempted to give up and vow never to get out of bed again because I have no desire to see what the next day’s shoe drop will bring.
Honestly, sometimes I am tempted to wonder whether God is really for me or against me. Can you relate?
But those thoughts just reflect the fact that I have temporarily lost sight of the cross and the crucified God who went there willingly so that these trials in a sin-cursed world would be all that I ever tasted of suffering. Gazing on the Savior who willingly hung there in my place forever settles the question: God is FOR me!
He is even using each “shoe” to bring me one step closer to Christ.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If you suffer with the Shoe Drop Syndrome notice the word “various” in this verse. I think the word is intentional for people like me who grow weary of the flow of trials. I often think that if He would just give me one trial at a time and give me plenty of time to work through it, that would be ideal! But working off my own timeline wouldn’t train me to be steadfast and certainly wouldn’t have the full effect in my character. God is preparing us for the work He has ordained for us to do. To become perfect, complete and lacking in nothing we must surrender to His perfect plan, timeline and, yes, even the “flow” of trials.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Shoe Drop sufferer… do not lose heart. Your suffering in various trials is productive. Each shoe that falls moves you one step further along the path in conforming us to the image of Christ. Though the enemy wants us to believe in a “Shoe Drop God” who is relentlessly against us, the cross tells a different story. It tells us that with the final shoe, the shoe of His wrath, the Father was pleased to crush His only Son (Isa 53:5) and that, in the process, the Son crushed the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).
As a result, though we must walk in His troubled steps during this life, let us cling to this assurance of the crown of life.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.