Recently, when I was going through one of my most difficult depressions, I was reminded of a saying I hadn’t heard in years, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I don’t remember who the author was, but here’s the quote.

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet!” Emory had just finished reading out loud the incident in Darlene Deibler Rose’s book “Evidence Not Seen.” When she and her missionary husband, Russell, were in New Guinea bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the lost and dying souls there, he came down with jungle rot in his feet. Every night he had to soak his feet, and then Darlene would patiently peel the bloody, pus covered skin away, down to the raw flesh.

One day one of the team doctors entered the room as she was tending Russell’s feet. He took one look and a wave of nausea passed over his face, and he thought what a nauseating ugly sight it was. But the Lord kept saying to him, “Oh, but to me they are beautiful feet!” Then the words of Isaiah 52:7 came to him. ” How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings. Russell was bringing good tidings to the people of New Guinea who were lost and dying with no hope at all, and someday it would all be over—the horrible suffering they experienced to tell others about Jesus.

Can you imagine the excruciating pain he suffered? Most folks would have given up and gone back home. Could I have suffered such agony? I must admit that I could not.

Still I thought of my own afflictions and my constant desire to quit—then the quote above came to me, and I wept in repentance and shame. My suffering is so trivial when I think about Russell Deibler and the writer of the other quote. I wept and wept as once again I vowed to keep on until I could no longer continue.

How about you, beloved? What is your calling? We are all called to preach–or share the gospel wherever we are. Do you often suffer for the cause? Do you feel like giving up? If so, then remember Russell’s feet and the man with no shoes. It will give you the courage to use your beautiful feet to carry on until your work is done. And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they be sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15.)

My feet beautiful? Not hardly. But if Jesus says they are, then who am I to challenge Him.

-– Rebecca Somoskey