A good friend of mine recently gave birth to a little boy with whom I’m totally in love. Although I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like, given our schedules, this little guy has quickly become one of the favorite men in my life.
On a recent visit with him and his parents, I was holding and talking to him while he’s continuingly growing eyes attempted to focus first on me, then on the light streaming in from their big bay windows. I just marveled at how he was learning and experiencing the world for the first time—everything is fresh. He wiggled and wondered, and I grinned and wondered at his beautiful little body, his soon-to-be-discovered personality and his ten perfect toes that he insisted on poking out from his swaddling.
A few days later, I was sitting on the chair in my office, cross-legged. I don’t remember if I was reading or writing, but God gently turned my attention to my own toes. Slightly calloused and ragged, my toes are much flatter than the toes that I tickled earlier in the week, toes that have yet to press earth and bear the weight of his own life and, eventually, those he loves.
As I asked God why He’d turned my attention to the differences and similarities between my toes and those little toes I’d held preciously, I felt Him smile. He was inviting me to give my attention to something that I don’t normally think about, and in that attention-giving He was reminding me of His immense love.
I sat with God in the silence and noticed that I don’t pay my attention to my feet, but they bear a lot of things. My toes allow balance and dexterity, they create stability and grounding for me in a literal physical way. I also noticed that my toes aren’t that different from baby Brandt’s toes—we each have ten toes that contract when we’re tickled and reach out when we stretch. There was a day once when my toes were held in the hands of those who wondered and awed over them, loving family who cooed over the miracle of a new life so fearfully and wonderfully made.
I was also reminded that God marvels and delights over me like a new parent each morning, that His new mercies also mean His new delight. That even a part of my body that take totally for granted—as one day this baby turned young man will take for granted his running, walking, dancing feet—is a part that God created deliberately and with love. And it’s a part of me that He holds tenderly, just as He holds the rest of me, each moment of each day.
It made me wonder wistfully if one of the reasons God asked Moses—and asks each of us—to take off our shoes when we are on holy ground isn’t so much to acknowledge His holiness, but so that He can have a good look at those little toes He made and loves.