It’s too much, Lord. I can’t count the number of times I’ve uttered some form of these words. Sometimes I whisper through my tears and other times I scribble furiously onto the pages of my journal—early morning thoughts after news of another hardship. Another friend’s suffering. My own difficult circumstances. A world in physical, emotional, and spiritual upheaval.
I imagine you can relate. The weight feels unbearable. You try to muster up strength, but you can’t. Weak and weary, you wonder if you’ll have what it takes to survive what’s in front of you. We fear we’ll be consumed by our grief. We can’t see how there could possibly be enough grace.
Can I make it, Lord? Will they?
These are the questions I bring to the Lord when I know I—and those around me—don’t seem to have enough resilience or strength to endure the hardship we’re facing. And do you know what the Lord continues to remind me? It’s not up to me.
Our ability to endure suffering is completely dependent upon God’s power at work within us. He walks beside us, wipes our tears, comforts us in our sorrow, and leads us through the darkest valleys.
But sometimes—even when we know what’s true—we don’t always feel it. So, if you’re struggling to believe God is with you in whatever you’re facing right now, I hope you find comfort in these words. Because whether we feel it or not, we have the promise of God’s presence.
In the book of Deuteronomy we find Moses’ final words to God’s people before they cross over to the Promised Land. As Moses recounts their experiences, he says something I’ve never been able to forget. Recounting the people’s rebellion against God, and the subsequent consequence of wandering in the wilderness for forty years, Moses reminded them:
“…and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 1:31).
God was with them those forty years. He provided for their needs. He gave Moses the wisdom to appoint leaders when the burden of leadership became too difficult. God went before them in a cloud and fire. All the way, God carried them.
God is still faithful to carry his people.
This is how he carries you.
I walk into the kitchen to begin prepping dinner when I see a truck beside our front gate. Before the doorbell rings, I step out onto the porch and call to my neighbor. She turns around, a large box in her arms. Before a hello even escapes my lips, she says:
“I just didn’t think you should make dinner tonight.” My shoulders slump, I smile, tilt my head to the side, and look at her with tears brimming in my eyes. When I express my thanks, she simply says—in her delightful Aussie accent—, “It’s nothing,” and then scurries away to tend to her six week old baby.
This wasn’t the first time someone had brought us a meal. Between babies, deployments, and moves, we’ve been handed our fair share of family favorite casseroles. This one was different. My neighbor down the street is not a close friend. And yet, there she was, on my front porch, bringing me a meal.
I was continually surprised during Bradley’s recent deployment by the ways God carried us. Food, encouraging texts, free meals from the public school, friends who would pop over mid-afternoon, gift cards in the mail, and pizza delivered to the front door. On the days when I felt like I couldn’t bear the weight any longer, God would send a gift to bolster my weary soul.
God loves to surprise his people. For forty years he rained bread from heaven to sustain his people in the wilderness. He made water come from a rock when they were thirsty, and twice parted huge bodies of water so they could go where he sent them.
If you’re wobbling beneath a heavy load, be patient. Wait expectantly. Pay attention.
God carries you through unexpected provisions.
I shift the toddler to my other hip and steady her while I pull my mask back over my face. We’re singing the final song at the end of the service and tears begin to pool in my eyes. I look to my left, then to my right. The older couple whose granddaughter just died. A family from our community group. New people I’ve yet to meet. My dear friend who listened to me pour out my heart at the beach the other day.
Our pastor raises his hands and proclaims a benediction over his flock, and it’s in this moment, surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ, that I realize: this is necessary. In all her imperfections, through all of her shortcomings, despite all the ways she fails to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord—my spiritual family is essential to my faith.
I can’t explain the phenomenon of gathering with other believers, but it’s powerful. We receive prayer, words of truth, reminders of God’s faithfulness. Our brothers and sisters comfort of us with the comfort they received in their own hardship. We lift our burdens to the Lord and shoulder the weight together.
God carries you through the Church.
We were sitting in a room to the side of the church auditorium, minutes before the service started. Grief-stricken over my brother’s sudden death, our family was dreading what we were about to face. But I’ll never forget the way Mom looked at us and shared her experience with God’s grace. She explained how over the past few days—when the next moment seemed impossible, when she wasn’t sure how God would sustain her in the overwhelming loss of her son—God’s grace would be there. Never early, never late. But he was giving it. Constantly.
We want to know exactly how God will provide for our needs or reassure us of his presence. But we won’t always know and sometimes his presence won’t appear in tangible ways. I can’t explain the ways the Spirit upholds our souls, but he always does. He might bring a verse from our Bible study or a recent sermon to mind. A song enters our earbuds, speaking truth and comfort. Sometimes, our days go smoothly, the kids obey cheerfully, and we make it to bedtime without crumbling to the floor. And other days, when everything falls to pieces, somehow we don’t fall apart and the joy of the Lord bubbles up inside of us.
God carries you by his grace through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When the Israelites stood at the edge of the Promised Land, they were tired. They had wandered for forty years, Moses was about to die, and they were on the brink of battles to take the new land. Do you know what Moses said to them? Repeatedly? Obey God. Don’t forget his commands. Be careful to remember. Love and worship God, nothing else.
I find it helpful to notice what Moses didn’t say. He didn’t tell them to sit back, relax, and take care of themselves in whatever way felt good because, phew, after all that hardship, they sure deserved it.
Can I be honest with you? This is often what I would like to be told, especially when I’m weary. Can I just check out for a few minutes? Often times I do. I scroll Instagram rather than sitting down with my children at the end of the day. I’ll set aside a difficult task, because let’s face it: it’s been a long morning and I could use a few minutes to myself. Obviously there’s a place for rest; God also commanded a sabbath. But I’m talking about the temptation to relax our affections and turn them away from God.
In the face of difficulties we can be tempted to think we deserve to satisfy our cravings however we want. So instead of engaging in rest carefully and handling self-care with wisdom, we indulge and forget to rest in Christ. This can result in a divided heart.
We’re not called to quit when life gets hard. God calls us to live lives of faithful endurance. So we take the next step. Do the work before us. Walk in love. Obey with joy. We tend to our souls with care and diligence. Fix our eyes on our eternal hope: Jesus.
Perhaps this isn’t the most comforting way to end a blog post about God’s provision and presence, but it’s the truth. God demands our obedience. And we’ll want to abandon his call, look for satisfaction elsewhere, and place our affections on lesser things. But just as he persisted with his people throughout the Old Testament, God will keep wooing us back. He’ll remind us of Jesus. Jesus never wavered in his obedience, and he never gave up. His eyes were fixed on the joy of being reunited with his Father.
So too, we keep obeying. And somehow, as we live as though we’ve been changed by Christ, we’re changed in the process, and we grow to love Jesus more.
God carries you through your obedience to him.
Dear weary sister, whatever you face today, tomorrow, or whatever continues to weigh you down from the past, God will carry you through it all.
He’s not giving up or abandoning us. So lean into his strength. Rest in God’s power. Trust in the One who loved us enough to carry the weight of our sin on his shoulders. He bore the fullness of God’s wrath on the cross so we could be set free. Rejoice that even now Jesus is carrying us before the throne of grace, interceding on our behalf before the Father. Cling to the promise of his love which will never let you go.
Hold onto the Living Hope who guards you until you obtain fullness with Christ. He will carry you all the way to your eternal home in heaven.
This is how he carries you.
For further study and reflection, consider the following verses:
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
1 Peter 1:3-9