I Don’t See Them, But I Got Them

I got Shoes, You Got Shoes, All God’s Children Got Shoes, When I get To Heaven, Gonna Put on My Shoes, Gonna Walk, All Over God’s Heaven

Only the barest of necessities were given to the slaves by the slave master. Just barely something to cover themselves. They didn’t have a robe or shoes. Certainly the slave singer was not happy about that, but the singer saw past the present reality into God’s future. Seeing God’s future transformed the present moment of frustration into a moment of celebration.

480px-Family_of_African_American_slaves_on_Smith's_Plantation_Beaufort_South_CarolinaThis singer simply looks pass this present reality to a different one. You see in the present reality I don’t have shoes. In this present moment, I don’t have a robe. In fact in this present reality, I don’t have all the things that I need to survive. But in God’s ultimate reality, the singer has them. No, the slave master does not have the last word. God has the last word.

One thing I like about this spiritual is that the singer is talking about a present parallel reality. The slave is saying “The slave master says I can’t have shoes, but I have shoes today.” Not only do I have shoes, but the other slaves have shoes. Feet look as bare as they did before they decided to sing, but they continued “All God’s children Got shoes.” The shoes are a present possession in God’s ultimate reality.

While the shoes are a present possession in God’s ultimate reality, the slave will not be able to use them until the future for they sang “when I get to heaven I am gonna put on my shoes and walk over God’s heaven.” The slave is celebrating the fact that presently I have the shoes but in the future I will use those shoes to walk over God’s heaven.

Today, many of us do not have the things that we should have. Some of us are even missing meals. Some of us do not have a good enough prescription drug plan to pay for all of our pills. Some of us cannot even afford the coat or shoes that are needed to get through the winter safe and healthy. But the promise of God is that God has gone to prepare a place. The promise of God is that he will come again to receive his own. The promise of God is one day we will no longer have to want for the necessities of life.

This reality changes our lives in such a way that we can celebrate God’s future. This reality changes things such that we can continue “Marching to Zion.” This present reality shapes and forms us as we live even today for we know that for the child of God, our needs and wants are fully realized in God’s promised future.


Heavenly Father, we thank you for providing for our greatest needs in the future. Please help us to continue walking just a little bit longer in the tattered shoes of the present with fully knowledge that one day we shall put on those shoes you have for us when your Kingdom is fully realized.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Revised Common Lectionary
5th Sunday of Lent (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm: Psalm 130
  • Epistle: Romans 8:6-11
  • Gospel: John 11:1-45
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