Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Piggy-back ride

Every now and again I like to catch one of those episodes of funny videos where someone is caught in the act of doing something just bordering on the edge of stupidity. One such video last night featured a wedding in which one of the bridesmaids wanted to have her escort hop on her back for a piggy-back ride. Let me just preface this with the fact she was about twice his size, so she may have been able to do it under normal circumstances! She was in heels, a long dress, under the influence of perhaps a little too much bubbly, and he came at her with a running start - all laying out the steps for a total flop on that idea! As you can imagine, they both ended up face first into the dance floor!  I used to be able to carry my children or grandchildren on my shoulders. I could give them piggy-back rides, supporting them when they needed a little bit of carrying to make it to the end of the journey, but that was a long time ago. If I tried it today, I'd be face down just like that bridesmaid. There is no way I could ever think I could carry them any longer, but just because I can't doesn't mean God isn't!

“Listen to me, family of Jacob, everyone that’s left of the family of Israel. I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you." (Isaiah 46:4 MSG)

God's intent in 'carrying us' isn't that we will never have to work at anything in this lifetime, but that we can always count on his support when we need it. Some of us think we need to be carried all the time - not true. If we expect to be carried all the time, we are actually resorting to the tactic of coercing God into 'pampering' us way too much. We need the strength a little hard work on our part will produce in our character. Just as with physical activity, the soul and spirit require some activity to grow strong, as well. We don't need to be carried all the time, but when we do, God is always going to do it, just as he said he would. He isn't going to let us falter, but he won't pamper us, either!

The moment we realize we have an active part to play in our spiritual growth, there is a change in our inner man that might just be a little frightening to some of us. We don't want to have to work for things in life - we'd much rather have it provided to us just like when we were infants. But...none of us remain as infants all our lives! We are expected to grow, and that growth means we will be carried some of the time, but at some point, we learn to crawl, walk, and even run. All creating a little bit of growth in us that wouldn't be realized if we were carried all the while. The 'active part' we play in our spiritual growth is what scripture refers to as obedience. The starting point of obedience is the first step. The first step requires not so much a trust in ourselves, but a trust in the one who said we could take that step in the first place!

If we want to be carried in all of life, God isn't going to let us get away with that desire. Why? He loves us too much to not give us exposure to the things that will help us grow strong in our obedience and trust. He will put us in the place where we have to trust so we develop the awareness of what or who it is we are trusting in the most. He will bring us into times when we experience fatigue and weakness, not because he wants us to hurt, but so we will know his strength bearing us up when we can no longer bear up on our own. He isn't going to abandon us, but he wants us to be able to walk equally as much as he wants us to allow him to carry us when we need to be carried! Just sayin!