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Does Jesus want to carry us when times are tough?

Tags: jesus carry

Does Jesus want to carry us when times are tough? This question is like those tests where we’re supposed to pick the “best” answer.  And “yes” is not the best answer!  I used to think it was, but I 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 …”

Curious?  Confused?

Let me try to help straighten out this question.  

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 it 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 was in my walk of faith that day.  More on that later.

I wrote the first version of this more than 5 years ago. So much has happened since then. Much of it wasn’t good. But then, there were things to balance out the bad with some good. We’ll see how/if my feelings changed over that time.

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 seems the answer is – 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. Notice, there is a difference between “if we need to be carried, Jesus wants to do that” and “Jesus doesn’t want to carry us, but He will if He has to“.

Is this an example of how Jesus wants to carry us when times are tough?

We can get a clue about that, by looking at this passage from Luke. It’s an exchange between Peter and Jesus, shortly after the Last Supper. I included the entire passage to give the full scope of what’s going on. Jesus is telling His disciples about His imminent death, initiating our Christian practice of Communion, and yet still taking time for Peter.

The Last Supper – Luke

22:7-13 pp — Mt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16
22:17-20 pp — Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; 1Co 11:23-25
22:21-23 pp — Mt 26:21-24; Mk 14:18-21; Jn 13:21-30
22:25-27 pp — Mt 20:25-28; Mk 10:42-45
22:33, 34 pp — Mt 26:33-35; Mk 14:29-31; Jn 13:37, 38

Lk 22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

Lk 22:9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

Lk 22:10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

Lk 22:13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Lk 22:14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

Lk 22:17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Lk 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Lk 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Lk 22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

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.”

Lk 22:33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Lk 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Lk 22:35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.

Lk 22:36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

Lk 22:38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.

So, the important portion for today’s topic and for this example is:

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 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.

We’re about to see one of the possible reasons.

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 verse 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.  We need to have the desire, willingness, faith, and so on, to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. Without that, on our part, the Holy Spirit cannot accomplish anything through us.

But maybe the hardest part to explain is that without the things we just looked at, Jesus cannot “carry us”.

And here’s where the “best” answer comes in.

An example of Jesus can/will carry us when times are tough …

Jesus Walks on the Water – Matthew

14:22-33 pp — Mk 6:45-51; Jn 6:15-21
14:34-36 pp — Mk 6:53-56

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.”

Mt 14:34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

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.

Conclusion – Does Jesus want to carry us when times are tough?

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 possibly 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.

Conclusion – five years later.

Now, at the end of 2022, my conclusion is the same. But, having said that, it’s a bit harder to reach that conclusion.

If you’ve read much of my stuff lately, you know I have problems with depression. And that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago. Surgery didn’t get all of it, so now I’m waiting, under what they call active surveillance, to see if/when treatment will start.

Add to that the fact that December is coming. Christmas is in 4 weeks.

Plus, it’s week one of Advent. The time to talk about hope.

Of course, it’s always people who hoped for something, prayed to God for it, and got what they prayed for. Not necessarily right away. But they got it. And maybe they needed some adjustments. But they got it.

But what if we don’t get what we prayed for?

Of course, I know the answers. The “church” answers. One like God is sovereign and will do what He wants. Sometimes the answer is no, although I don’t remember ever hearing or reading that for anything about Advent.

So as I wait for results from my quarterly blood tests, wondering if this will be the time when treatment, probably radiation, begins – and trying to not let depression get to me too much, as if that was possible – it is, well, it’s depressing.

You see, the thing is, I also know, and believe, that the real hope isn’t getting the kinds of things we tend to pray for.

Advent is waiting for Jesus. A celebration and reminder of the first coming. And the Christian hope that goes with the second coming.

And then there’s the realization that the joy in my life comes from reaching out to people, like you for instance, to let you know about Jesus. And from helping the people in the classes I lead. From being open to allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me to accomplish those things.

Final thoughts – when times are tough

So yes, Jesus does carry me. Not to avoid problems, trials, troubles, Etc.

And not to make those things go away.

But rather, as He told Peter, so that I can strengthen my brothers and sisters. Or to help someone who doesn’t know the truth about Jesus to have the desire to find out about Him. Or take a second look at Him.

After all, that’s what Christian hope is really about.

The post Does Jesus want to carry us when times are tough? appeared first on God versus religion.

This post first appeared on God Versus Religion, please read the originial post: here

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Does Jesus want to carry us when times are tough?


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