Boot camp is where you and the military see if you are good enough for warfare. I often benefit from thinking of the Christian life as boot camp, because it helps me to be conscious of my trials and sufferings as God’s way of fitting me for his mop-up operation against Satan.
Today I heard a different kind of boot story, this one concerning a teacher helping her Kindergartener put on his boots. He had asked for help, and indeed these turned out to be some tough goulashes to put on. She pushed and pulled and still they remained stuck. After much striving both feet were finally sheathed in their weather gear, when suddenly the child cried, “They’re on the wrong feet.”
Sure enough, they were. Equal time and exertion were now expended to make the swap. But afterward the boy announced, “These aren’t my boots.” The teacher wanted to answer, “Why didn’t you tell me that?” but she controlled herself and helped the tyke remove the boots, wondering what clueless classmate was walking around in the wrong footwear.
“They’re my brother’s boots,” the boy added just after the teacher had removed them. He explained that Mom had made him wear them today. Without saying an unkind word, the teacher helped the child to his feet and said, “Good. Now where are your mittens?” “They’re in the toes of my boots,” he said with a grin.
When I was a kid, the TV show, Candid Camera, set up baffling or frustrating situations. Cameras caught unsuspecting passersby happening upon the rigged site and being themselves.
Several times a week the Lord may deliberately place you in a situation like the one the teacher was in, to test your character. At Ft. Benning or Ft. Jackson you expect to be subjected to testings and given close scrutiny. But I am thinking that there is no sophisticated training ground that beats this simple boot exercise with a 5-year-old for both ascertaining and building character. You will probably have at least two or three such mundane tests this week.