Marilyn Monroe was always a human Barbie in my mind: sexy, gorgeous, put together—basically the perfect woman (maybe minus the ethics). I just watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for the first time last week and giggled my way through her character’s ditzy shenanigans. As brainless as Miss Lorelei Lee may be, Monroe herself had quite the head on her shoulders. She was quoted as saying, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Hey, it worked for Cinderella, right?
The thing about abstract concepts (like, say, hope) is that they remain abstract until we do the hard work of giving them shoes to walk around in. Sure, we can develop an understanding of what hope is for and why it’s there and who it’s available to and how to cultivate it, but without getting practical and personal, hope will never be unleashed where it’s most needed. This is where we move from the head to the hands (or feet), putting the right pair of shoes on hope so it can go and conquer the world for the glory of God and the good of all people.
Maybe the hope Jesus is calling you to wears fluffy house shoes, dispensing itself into little hearts and weary shoulders. Maybe it wears stilettos, walking up to strippers and handing them an awareness of how loved they truly are. Maybe it wears work boots, shuffling doggedly beside that difficult associate prone to despair. Maybe it wears ballet slippers and spins toward a group of women who just want to know they are enough. Maybe it wears dusty flats, climbing the mountains around a remote village to share the best news with those who have never heard it.
Clogs, cowboy boots, soccer cleats, pumps, gym shoes, high tops, flip flops, loafers, moccasins, boat shoes, or snow boots: hope can wear them all. Your job is to assess two things and then shop accordingly:
1. What kind of shoes does your brand of hope call for right where you are? Who do you come into contact with regularly? What might it look like to be a well-known hope dealer in those circles? Where can you give out hope the most comfortably?
2. What kind of shoes might your brand of hope call for if you were to branch out a bit? Who does God’s heart beat for through you: orphans? prostitutes? inmates? refugees? What might it look like to be a well-known hope dealer in those circles? Where would you be willing to go?
Whether it’s to the next door neighbor or to the other side of the planet, hope is waiting for you to put shoes on it. And think about this: you might be God’s answer to someone else’s hope. Matt Chandler advises asking how and when to help his church apply what they learn. So how will you flesh out what taking hope to those around you and to those far off looks like, and when will you do it? If you can figure those out, lace up your shoes: you really are about to conquer the world.
By awesome deeds You answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.