The majestic rock formations rose up around us in ancient hues of amber, rusty sienna, and algae green. Radiant heat of the day, broken only by short puffs of cool air from a waning waterfall or hidden cave, enveloped us. I was in awe of God’s handiwork in Zion National Park and could barely take my eyes from one regal display of grandeur to the next. Behind us was the Spearhead formation, providing shade as we ascended the trail to the Emerald Pools.
As much as I wanted to only gaze upward at the incredible spires, cliffs and wildlife, I had to tear my eyes away and focus on the dusty trail, lest I trip and fall. Our goal was to reach the Emerald Pool and back to the lodge by sunset. The only way we could reach it was by this trail, one cautious, sandy step at a time.
We were rewarded as the path opened up into a small, damp canyon. It was alive with frogs singing praises from their hidden choir lofts in the clefts of the rocks surrounding the pool created by a gently trickling waterfall.
After exploring the vibrant canyon and resting at the pool, we began our descent. Sometimes I think I notice the oddest things. Shoeprints of all sizes littered the dusty pathway. There were huge boot prints alongside cute little baby hiker shoeprints that brought a smile to my sweaty face. One set of shoeprints kept repeatedly drawing my attention. It was obviously a woman’s shoe. It had beautifully etched flowers inside of a teardrop shape that was impressed into the dirt with every step. I thought to myself, I want to have beautiful footprints too. At first, my thoughts were only meandering about the actual shoeprint, but as I continued down the path, my musings shifted from the earthly to the sacred.
I don’t want just a cute pair of shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love shoes. But I want to leave behind me a legacy of beautiful feet. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
As the path descended into the valley and grounds of the Zion Lodge, we were greeted by a herd of deer grazing. Unintimidated, the families of deer enjoyed dinner amongst the human families picnicking in the cool of the evening. I continued to be amazed at the colors of light reflecting sunset and bouncing off the rocks in a spectacular show. But I was hot, sweaty and sticky. I had sand in my shoes and wanted to soak my feet in the tub of our air-conditioned cabin.
Cool air hit us as we entered our cabin, and I proceeded to my goal of a refreshing bath. I sat down next to the tub and pulled my foot up to remove my shoe… and laughed. There, staring me in the face, was a shoe with a teardrop middle and beautifully etched flowers. I was wearing the shoes that made the footprints in the sand that I had so blissfully admired.
As human beings, we tend to view ourselves through impaired lenses. We either think to highly of ourselves, or, all too often, we look at ourselves as unworthy, unlovable, ugly, less than intelligent, irrelevant, damaged goods. We compare ourselves, wanting to be what we don’t think we are or can be.
We need to see ourselves through the blood colored glasses that God sees us through because, of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139 and even more importantly; We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God knows my heart’s desire, to leave an eternal, positive and significant impact on those I am called to walk with. Through his refining power, He is giving me “Beautiful Feet.”
*If you know me, you know that I would almost always choose to be outdoors rather than in. I can think better, breathe better, worship better, and just be better under the canopy of creation than the confines of four walls. Most of our vacations are marked by what we did outside. Hiking is one of our favorite summer getaways from the noise of this world’s chaos. If you are able, I encourage you to spend some time today fellowshipping with the One who created His sanctuary for all of us to enjoy.