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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Can I carry you?

Indeed, when you were still in the womb, I was taking care of you.  And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you.  When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you.  (Isaiah 46:3-4 VOICE)

There are times in life when what we see started in our lives just don't seem to be coming to fruition. It seems as though progress "stalls out". As with any process change, the movement from one point to another can start with great strides, but in a course of time, the gains seem to get smaller and smaller. Why? We are nearing the completion of the change! It isn't that God has stopped working in us - it is that we are about to be transitioned into a different "change" focus. In fact, once change is deemed to be complete in one area, it doesn't mean we just coast - it means we ready ourselves for the next phase!

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.  (Philippians 1:6 VOICE)

We might just forget that God sets out to define, design, and direct our lives from womb forward - never neglecting one step in the developmental process along the way. He is "taking care of us" even when we don't feel his presence, know which way is up, and when times get a little rougher than we might have imagined. From womb to tomb - God is ever working to see us develop into the creation he designed and defined as his own.  I love the passage from Isaiah about "carrying us" way into our old age - never leaving us to have to "manage" on our own. We might think we have abandoned him along the way, giving up on some of the changes he set out to see accomplished in us, but he never abandons those designs.  They remain consistent - we are the ones who abandon the path to seeing them fulfilled.

What is begun will not be abandoned by God. This might be hard for us to imagine since we are so feeble in our own commitments to some things in our lives. We find the road a little too hard to travel, or we aren't seeing the progress be as quick as it was at the beginning, so we abandon the process. I wonder how many significant changes we might just have been hours short of completing - our full break through in that life issue just days away - all because it just didn't seem like anything was happening anymore.  I have had to learn that change is incremental - not all at one time. There are ups and downs to change, necessitating course corrections along the way on occasion. But...God isn't finished with me yet! What he has begun - he will finish. 

Sometimes we can go through change under our own power - seemingly standing upright and strong - facing the challenges head-on and with great stamina. At others, it is as though God needs to just carry us as we go through them. Some might think the latter is kind of wrong - but sometimes we just need to be carried! There are times when the change requires some adjustments which are not all that easy - we need to be carried over rough spots, through dense places which would mire us down if we weren't. It doesn't mean we are weak or barely holding on - it means we have learned God's hand is there to help us make it through!

I want us to reflect for just a moment on a truth we might just gloss over in our introductory passage. It isn't that God carries us when we cannot seemingly walk through under our own power - he ALWAYS has been carrying us.  We just notice he is carrying us when we are the weakest in our spiritual, emotional, or physical strength!  Maybe what God wants us to really know is that he isn't just there "when we need carrying", but he is there even when we seem to be "doing all right" in the journey.  In the old Southern vernacular, to "carry someone" meant you took them from here to there - not always a literal picking up and toting the person from here to there - but an accompanying of one along the journey.  Some of us need to be physically carried - God is there. Other just need to know he is with us on the journey.  Either way - he carries us! Just sayin!