“My do it!!” insisted my fiercely independent two year old son, as I tried to prize the Avengers backpack from his chubby little fingers. We had just been to the local park for a picnic and I had managed to keep the back pack away from my son’s eagle eyes by hooking it over the back of the pushchair on our way out of the house. Until now.
You may be thinking, why not just let him carry his own backpack if he wants to carry it? It is his after all… The reason is that I knew that it was far too heavy for him. I had packed it to the rafters with drinks, snacks, wet wipes and other toddler paraphernalia in preparation for our park adventures, and as the bag itself is rather big for him anyway, I knew that the poor little mite would struggle to carry it further than a few metres.
Undeterred, my persistent son won his battle and I duly helped him to haul the overloaded backpack on to his little body. Buoyed by his success, he hopped along happily but within a few paces he began to struggle with the backpack, wanting to reposition it on his shoulders as it constantly slipped on and off.
A typical (and unashamed) helicopter mom, I hovered behind him, continually trying to step in to help my son, offering to take the bag or at the very least shorten the straps so that it fit him better, much to his dismay. On occasion he would concede and pass me the bag, only to regain his strength a short while after and try to take it back again. I found myself getting more and more frustrated as I watched him refuse my parental wisdom and offers of help only to see him visibly struggle a few more steps before being unable to carry it any more.
God whispered to me, “Precious daughter, that is how I feel with you.”
I stopped dead in my tracks, watching my son soldier on and felt tears burn my cheeks as God reminded me of his promises in the Word;
‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you’. Jeremiah 29:11
“You know that I have your very best interests at heart, please trust me my sweet girl,” God whispered, “I know the burdens that you carry and I know that they are yours, but you cannot carry them alone, so won’t you let me help you?”
Gazing at my son, happily oblivious to mommy’s God-conversation, my spirit alert, heart softened and eyes shining with tears, I thanked God right there and then, that despite my protestations and endless quest for independence, he has never quit loving me, never stopped asking, ‘Can I help you with that?’
God loves you and I more than we will ever know or comprehend. He loves us exactly as we are, right now, imperfect and impossibly independent. We have spent a lifetime living OUR way when all along we should have been living YAHWEH. God has a plan to give us a purpose, a destiny, a hope and a future, and that will mean addressing issues and bearing burdens along the way. But God never intended for us to do life alone. He promises to never give us more than we can bear and He also promises to help us carry it.
I love The Message version of 1 Corinthians 10:13:
All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit.
Just like I knew as a mother that my son’s backpack was too heavy for him, so too does our heavenly Father know what we can and cannot bear.
What is in your backpack today? Are you carrying the weight of a shame so heavy you feel it is dragging you down? Are you battling with a sin or an addiction that you have carried around for far too long? Do you bear the burden of unforgiveness, past decisions you have made or circumstances that were beyond your control? Do you cling to the grief left with you when your loved one left you? Are you tired of struggling on each day, fighting to place one foot in front of the other as you constantly reposition your load?
Jesus said; “Come to me all who are weary, for my burden is easy and light” Matthew 11:28
If you will trust him, and listen to his gentle pleas to help you today, Jesus will stand with you and shoulder the weight of the load you bear. He didn’t promise an easy ride, but he did promise a life-long road-trip companion. Please don’t fight the still small voice urging you to quit trying to do things in your own strength. Don’t wait until your arms are so sore from struggling that you cannot lift them up to ask for or even accept the offer of help any more. Please, please take a moment today to stop a while, reassess what you are carrying and take a load off at the foot of the cross.