Hell or High Water

My Justin Work Boot Credit: JustinBoots.com
My Justin Work Boot
Credit: JustinBoots.com

This post is inspired by Kate Bortell’s “Wearing Wellies in the Rain”. I hope you’ll acquaint Kate, a truly delightful person, and kick back with some tea and enjoy her folksy, whimsical posts.

I worked on the railroad for a brief time. It’s an experience that never bores, although there are aspects about the job that are truly unenjoyable: the harsh schedule, work at any hour of the day or night, and the dangers of being in the thick of nowhere not knowing who or what is watching. Oh yeah, getting run over or crushed isn’t consoling either.

Trainmen also have to work through any weather condition, so it’s important to know the forecast and not lack proper gear. I was lucky enough to forget rainwear on the one day of the year Noah decided to return for a visit. The most important required gear, however, is footwear, work boots. They’re crucial for riding the cars and walking on the ballast, among other things.

Working on the rail was the first time I ever donned work boots, and it was a new experience for me. Further, I bought a pair of loggers—you wit me? Anyway, I knew what Justin (the manufacturer) told me about my boots and assumed that my $170 meant I had a good pair that met railroad guidelines…that’s that.

During a job one day following nearly two weeks of rain, we had to stop the train and figure out a move. I had to exit the engine and get over to the other side of a gully that was swollen with water; it was a virtual pool. The only way I could reach the other side was by jumping far enough and landing on as much soil as possible without soaking myself. It was doable.

So I leapt.

Nevertheless, I still ended up in some water. In fact, I stepped so far down into the pool that I waited to feel my precious boots filling and my feet swimming. But nothing. I got up on the hill and still nothing. My thick, heavy, waterproof work boots were so well-made that six or seven inches of water didn’t matter. I couldn’t believe it.

Dry Feet in Wet Places

This story makes me think about the Hebrew boys: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And what it causes me to reflect on are the hard places that we’ll inevitably encounter in life and the tough choices that will attend them. We’ll even make the right decisions but still come up short.

There are going to be situations that you know will be as the cliché goes—“all over but the crying.” But it will be in those moments that God will let you see and experience all the prayers prayed on your behalf, all the worth of your service, the full backing of Heaven that has always been yours. For every protection was built-in and has been with you from the start.

Your feet will keep dry; your clothes won’t burn.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isa. 43:2)

14 thoughts on “Hell or High Water

  1. And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. [Isa. 52:7.] (Ephesians 6:15 AMP)

    This is the verse that came to my mind. God gives us time to prepare for the tough things in life, but many of us fail to do so. We get wet, burnt or slip because we didn’t take the time to prepare. Often we don’t know why we’re preparing or what we are to be prepared for, but God’s word (the Gospel of Peace) plants in our hearts the things we need to remember that “the full backing of Heaven” is ours. It gives us sure footing when we have to take leaps of faith and gives us stability when everything else is shifting.

    1. Great addition, Chris! That verse hadn’t come to mind. I also see other correlations with our posts on Patrick and yours on transition. But there’s too much going on in my head right now to make any sense! Best to say, as I do in this stage of my life, that we keep our hearts open to learn what the Lord is teaching us in the things we experience. Cheers!

  2. Michael, this is GREAT! Your description of waiting for the water to fill your boots brought to mind my growing up days in the Chicago area – wearing bread bags in my boots because they were always soaking wet inside. I’d step in a puddle and just wait for the freezing cold water to seep in around the fake wool inserts.
    The verse in Isaiah is such comfort food to feast on! Then there are your words:
    ” For every protection was built-in and has been with you from the start.” Need to post that above my door post!
    Enjoyed every moment of this visit with you, leaving rejoicing in Him.

    1. Awesome…just awesome! Door post? Me too! As Peter reminds us (2 Peter 1), our steady faith consists in calling to mind what we already know. Cheers!

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