IRON SHOES FOR ROUGH ROADS
by J.R. Miller
Deuteronomy 33:25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
“Shoes of iron are promised only to those who are to have rugged roads—and not to those whose path lies amid the flowers and soft meadows. There is a comforting suggestion here, for all who find peculiar hardness in their life. Peculiar grace is pledged to them. God will provide for the ruggedness of their way. They will have a divine blessing which would not be theirs—but for the roughness and ruggedness. The Hebrew parallelism gives the same promise, without figure, in the remaining words of the same verse: “As your days—so shall your strength be.” Be sure, if your path is rougher than mine, you will get more divine help than I will. There is a most delicate connection between earth’s needs—and heaven’s grace. Days of struggle get more grace than calm, quiet days. When night comes—stars shine out which never would have appeared, had not the sun gone down. Sorrow draws comfort—which never would have come in joy. For the rough roads—there are iron shoes!
There is a story of shipwreck, which yields an illustration which comes in just here. Crew and passengers had to leave the broken vessel and take to the life-boats. The sea was rough, and great care in rowing and steering was necessary in order to guard the heavily-laden boats, not from the ordinary waves, which they rode over easily—but from the great cross-seas. Night was approaching, and the hearts of all sank as they asked what they would do in the darkness—when they would no longer be able to see these terrible waves. To their great joy, however, when it grew dark they discovered that they were in phosphorescent waters, and that each dangerous wave rolled up crested with light which made it as clearly visible as if it were mid-day.
So it is that life’s dreaded experiences, when we meet them, carry in themselves the light which takes away the peril and the terror. The night of sorrow, comes with its own lamp of comfort. The hour of weakness, brings its own secret of strength. By the brink of the bitter fountain itself, grows the tree whose branch will heal the waters. The wilderness with its hunger and no harvest, has daily manna. In dark Gethsemane, where the load is more than mortal heart can bear, an angel appears, ministering strength which gives victory. When we come to the hard, rough, steep path—we find iron for shoes! The iron will be in the very hills, over which we shall have to climb.”