I babysat our three grandkids one recent evening while my daughter and son-in-law attended a school curriculum meeting for parents.
As usual, I enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time with those children, but by the time their van pulled back into our driveway, I let out that sigh of relief with which grandparents are familiar -- the sigh of a weary survivor that says, "It was a lot of fun, but I think I'm ready for you to go home now."
As that beloved crew headed out the door, all three kids had gravitated to their father. On his back with arms wrapped around his neck was the oldest child. And in each arm were nestled the two younger siblings.
Those grandchildren are still relatively young, but they make for quite a load for one person to carry. I couldn't help but smile as I watched my son-in-law slowly but successfully plod out to the car with his precious cargo.
I'm sure if I had tried that task, I would have been down in my back for a week.
The Bible reminds us that our Heavenly Father can and does carry us.
In the middle of a passage declaring how manmade idols have to be carried around by people, the prophet Isaiah draws this contrast with the one true living God: "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb; even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46:3-4).
We aren't dealing with a god who has to be supported and carried by us. On the contrary, we serve a great God who helps and carries us. That's a world of difference, isn't it?
Think about those occasions when we tend to pick up and carry our kids: when they're tired; when we're in a hurry and their little legs can't keep up with us; when the path is rough or there is some obstacle or danger.
Likewise, God carries us when we're weary. He carries us when our efforts and strength can't keep up with the challenges and opportunities before us. He picks us up when dangers and obstacles threaten us.
We have a caring God who has upheld us from birth and who continues to do so today.
God can handle carrying us, no matter how heavy the load may seem at times, between us and all our baggage of afflictions, difficulties, and challenges. It's no problem for Him to carry the weight of all His many children at the same time.
There's a song that suggests if Jesus could carry the weight of the world on His shoulders, then we should know that He can carry us. The Bible talks about how the Son of God bore the sins of the whole world as He went to the cross.
If He could support that unimaginable weight, then certainly He can carry you and me.
So when you don't think you can take another step, put your arms around the neck of Jesus and hang on. When the road is too rough or you don't know which way to turn, rest in His strong arms. Let Him carry you.
In my older age I may not be capable of carrying all three of my grandchildren at the same time. But I'm grateful that there is a God who can carry me and you and anyone else who will trust Him -- "even to your old age".
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.