When the Father Carries You

I’ve always resonated with the “life is a journey” metaphor. I love adventure, and there’s always more to explore in life. Once, I was in a serious conversation with someone about how far I’d come on my own life journey and where I felt I currently stood. Knowing faith’s important role in my life, he asked me, “What if instead of viewing your life as a difficult journey you’re responsible for getting yourself through, you imagined stopping to allow God to pick you up and carry you through it?”

I found myself stunned by such a seemingly simple concept. I’d heard similar ideas before, but this time it struck a different chord. I had indeed been trekking my way through the wilderness seemingly all on my own. With the mindset that I alone was responsible for getting through an arduous life’s journey, no wonder I had been so anxious and exhausted! I sat and pondered what it would be like to let God “pick me up and carry me through.”

The Bible includes multiple references to God as One who journeys with us and removes our fears and burdens. Isaiah 41:13 states, “I, your God, have a firm grip on you, and I’m not letting you go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’” Joshua 1:9 echoes the same theme: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” In Matthew 11:28, Christ (whose name Immanuel means ‘God with us’) says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

In The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery, David G. Benner wrote, “Genuine self-knowledge begins by looking at God and noticing how God is looking at us.” When we take a moment to pause and simply notice how God is looking at us, do we see a military officer barking orders and pushing us to exhaustion? Do we imagine a vague presence somewhere far away to which we feel disconnected? Or do we see a loving Father who is intimately attuned to us and willing to guide us if we’re brave enough to reach out and take the hand He has extended to us?

I’ve realized that “Lord, bless the steps I’m taking” and “Lord, carry me through” are two very different prayers. The former reflects our desire for God to honor the decisions we choose. But not only does the latter require faith and trust, it helps us appreciate the part of the journey we are on at this very moment. For whether we are crossing the sea, surviving the wilderness, or resting in the gardens, He’s carrying us through.

If you are facing challenges with depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, spirituality, relationships, or other issues, The Refuge Center for Counseling can connect you with a therapist to journey with you.