Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, August 2, 2020

I did not pose these boots; they posed themselves for me. At least, that’s how it seemed when I came upon them as we walked by our neighborhood park on our morning walk.

A work truck was parked close by and we saw a handful of men at work in the park. I’m not sure why one of them shed his boots while he worked.

Delighted by my discovery, I whipped out my phone to take this photo, murmuring, “Boots on the ground,” as I did so.

The first time I remember hearing that phrase was at a wedding reception many years ago. The groom and his attendants were all military men, and I overheard another guest ask one of the groomsmen how soon they had to report for duty overseas.

His answer was, “Boots on the ground,” followed by the date.

That phrase has stayed with me ever since, although the date long forgotten. It has such a strong, purposeful ring to it. Four words that promise action.

The BBC News online Magazine Monitor, which promises to answer “the questions behind the news,” says that “’boots on the ground’ is shorthand for combat troops deployed in a foreign country.”

I prefer peace to war, yet I was born on a battlefield. You, too. Our “boots on the ground” date was our birthdate. We are equipped for the battle, though, as Paul describes in Ephesians 6:11-18:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, was deployed to our planet to do combat with the devil, who had staked his claim to this world. Our Savior’s Bethlehem birthdate was also His “boots on the ground” date. After doing battle daily with the devil, He won the war on Calvary’s cross, and freely shares His victory with us. All we have to do is ask and accept.

When we lace up our boots each morning, we can remember this Good News, and walk confidently into the day, knowing Jesus will walk with us, all the way home.