When my kids were little, and didn’t want to be picked up (usually to be transported by a parent to somewhere that they needed to be), they would sometimes “be heavy”. Lest you think that my children were able to change their density or mass, they didn’t actually change how heavy they were1. Instead, though, they would go all limp, making it difficult to pick them up (versus when they would reach up and put their arms around a parent’s neck). Like a bag of water softener salt, it was about twice as hard to carry them this way.
However, like my children when they wanted to remain where they were, we too can “be heavy” when Jesus would like to take us to a better place.
The classic poem, “Footprints”, talks about what happens during the difficult times in our lives. It illustrates Jesus carrying us through those times, shown by the presence of only his footprints in the sand.
I think that sometimes the difficult times in my life, if illustrated like the Footprints poem, might show that the difficult times in my life have a lot of sand pushed around. This would represent times when Jesus tried to carry me, but I was resisting and just getting pulled along, with the limp tracks of my feet being dragged along in the sand. Of course, Jesus sometimes lets us wallow in our slop for a while (like the prodigal son, as recorded in Luke 15:15-16), and doesn’t force us to do the right thing. So, maybe the sand would show the evidence of me just sitting there, sulking; while off to the side would be the impressions of His feet, just patiently waiting for me to leave my pity party and let Him help me.
This is just an illustration, so we don’t have to read too much into it. However, it is true that we can remain in difficult times when there is a way out; when our own pride keeps us from taking it. For instance:
- We remain in our sins. Even the Prodigal Son (in the parable alluded to above) didn’t come to his senses at first. He had to get to the end of his selfishly-gained inheritance before he figured out his folly.
- We don’t accept help. I remember a specific challenge that I struggled with for a decade until a friend asked me the simple question, “Why don’t you get some help for that?” I’m still not 100% free from that particular condition, but I got help and at least have a fighting chance to overcome, now!
- We do not reach out to Jesus. Sometimes, although the examples above are just illustrations, I think that we just need to mentally reach up to Jesus and stretch out our hands in the universal symbol that babies give their parents…”up, please”.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB
And, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least give a shout-out to the classic song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. The backstory to that (see the Wikipedia article, below) makes the point perhaps better than I ever could:
In any case, there is no burden that is too heavy for Jesus to carry. He proved that at the cross, and leaves only a lighter load for us to carry.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
So, if you’re struggling right now, please accept the support – both physical and spiritual – of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who care for you and will both rejoice and mourn with you. And, even more importantly, in your prayers and surrender to Jesus, don’t “be heavy”.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
- There’s probably an illustration about superheroes or physics, here. You can write that article, if you want! ↩