Does Jesus want to carry you when times are tough? This question is like those tests where we’re supposed to pick the “best” answer. And “yes” isn’t the best answer! I used to think it was, but recently learned that it really isn’t. There is one answer that’s better – although there are several answers that could start with “no, He wants …”
Let me try to help straighten out this question. This morning, I heard someone say that Jesus wants to carry us when times are tough. Something felt not quite right about that. So I was going over it – and finally realized what the issue that I had with is was. Before telling you what I concluded though – let’s look at my thought process. As I said, there could be a number of possible answers, so let’s look at them.
Before we proceed – when I say “best” answer – it’s maybe not the best answer ever. It’s what went through my mind this morning. It’s appropriate to where I am in my walk of faith this day. More on that later.
No – Jesus doesn’t want to carry us.
Some will be tempted (pun intended) to think this must be the correct answer, since I said “yes” wasn’t correct. That kind of conclusion is along the lines of “Did God really say …” from the Garden of Eden. That’s not actually what I said. I said “yes” wasn’t the best answer. In no way does that make “No – Jesus doesn’t want to carry us” the correct answer.
No – Jesus doesn’t want to carry us, but He will if He has to.
This is a slight variation of the first choice, but it’s still not correct. Just the thought that Jesus has to do anything is off the mark. I mean seriously – Jesus is God. He is God. Things happen according to God’s will – allowing for our free will to make choices that may be good or bad. But for us to think that Jesus has to carry us – that’s not a decision we can make for Him.
Yes – Jesus wants to carry us, if we ask Him to.
This one’s getting closer. For those that know the poem Footprints, this answer may come to your mind. For those that don’t know the poem, here it is –
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
From that last paragraph, it would seem that the answer would be – yes, Jesus wants to carry us if we believe in Him.
Sounds good – doesn’t it?
I have to say, when I first saw Footprints, I was in a really bad place in my life. I cried – right there in a store – when I read it. It helped me. A lot. It’s good to know Jesus hasn’t deserted us, especially when it feels like that’s exactly what He’s done.
And yes – if we need to be carried, Jesus wants to do that.
We can get a clue of that, looking at this passage from Luke –
Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.
However, it’s still not the best answer. And of course, it’s God that decides whether or not we need to be carried or not. It’s not our choice, because there may be a perfectly good reason for Jesus to not carry us at any given point in time.
No, Jesus would rather …
I purposely left off the last few words of the best answer, just as I purposely left off the last sentence in verse 32 above. Let me give you the entire passage first, then see if you can finish the answer.
Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Yes – after Jesus carries us, and after Jesus puts us back down to walk again, and we walk alongside Him again, He wants us to do something. We see here, Jesus says “strengthen your brothers”.
However, we need to be strong enough ourselves to be able to do that. And, oh – by the way , we cannot do it on our own. We cannot do it by ourselves. And here’s where the “best” answer comes in –
Jesus Walks on the Water
Mt 14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Mt 14:25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
Mt 14:27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Mt 14:28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
Mt 14:29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Mt 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Mt 14:32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Have you got it now?
While Jesus will carry us if we need to be carried, I believe His preference is that we grab hold of His hand, and walk alongside Him – doing things with the power we get from Him.
I wish I could take credit for that “best” answer. But I can’t. It goes to someone I had dinner with about a week ago. She’s a missionary who spends half of every year spreading the Gospel in a place where it’s really frowned on. It’s a place where people have been known to disappear for activity like that.
Before I leave you though, as promised earlier – when I say “best” answer – it’s maybe not the best answer ever. It’s what went through my mind this morning. It’s appropriate to where I am in my walk of faith at this time of my life. It may not be the “best” answer for you – at least not today. Maybe it will be on another day. Maybe there’s an even better answer for you today. After all, what’s “best” for you – that’s between you and God. My goal here is to get you beyond thinking the answer would be a simple “yes”.
One thing for sure – the answer is never “no”.
You may remember the last sentence from The Great Commission –
The Great Commission
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
When we commit our lives to Jesus, walk with Him – He really will never leave us. He’ll do whatever it takes. He died for us – what else could we possible ask Jesus to do to prove how much He loves us and that He’ll take care of us?
Now, He wants us to be able to learn to walk with Him – not to be carried all the time – and certainly not to walk without Him.