Joey’s feeling pretty small today.  That’s what happens when you’re supposed to have the right words to say and there are no right words for a family in needless grief and pain.  So Joey just hangs there, offering the ministry of presence.  Hoping to offer some kind of life or lift that will help.  But who will lift the lifter, and remind Joey what it’s like to stand tall and strong again?

Joey needs a carrier.

Alicia would never admit this, but she’s a living example of a Proverbs 31 woman.  Greatly admired, if not revered, she never seems to sleep, and lives pedal-to-metal most of the time.  She gets more work done by lunchtime than girls half her age and boys of any age do all day.  But behind the success and flair, Alicia hides an ugly secret:  She’s exhausted, and nearing the point of just not caring anymore.  And though she has a hard time admitting she can’t do it all, she, too, needs a carrier.

Joey and Alicia are real-life examples of somebody who’s near you, or who is you, right now…

  • Tired, but no end or help in sight…
  • Overwhelmed, but no clarity about what to hold onto and what to let go of…
  • Weepy at times for no apparent reason, or for any little cause…
  • Feeling abandoned or opposed against the tide of opinions, accusations, or criticism…
  • Disappointed by those once trusted, confused in the very areas that once produced confidence …
  • Surrounded by pain, yet seemingly helpless to do anything about it…

All these and more are the unmistakable signs of someone – maybe you – who is calling for a carrier, whether they know it or not.

What You can Learn From Clay Pots

When God breathes eternal life into a human heart, He doesn’t change the fact that this treasure is still housed in a limited container.  Paul described it this way:  “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NET).

Clay pots are breakable, disposable, and limited in what they can hold.  Their worth is found in the treasure they carry, not their appearance or brilliance.

But sooner or later we collide with those very limitations that keep us dependent on God’s extraordinary power.  And we discover in our hearts or bodies what we knew in our heads – that even we are breakable.

There’s only so much we can hold.

There’s only so much pressure we can take.

We are limited.  And on at least one level… disposable.

In God’s curious mix of irony, the carrier needs a Carrier.

Grace Carrier

One of the beauties of the grace of God is that He will never harp, nag, or punish you for needing help.

Unhealthy, controlling, or manipulative people may.

Or you may beat yourself up.

But not God.  He designed you to need His prevailing strength… and with the capacity to trust Him to receive it.  That’s why when Paul challenged Timothy to be strong, he wasn’t hollering at him to “man up,” but to “grace up.”  “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” he said (2 Timothy 2:1).

Why?  Because we who carry the grace are also carried by it.

This extraordinary power that is released in us is the fruit of a grace that wipes every tear from our eyes.  That advocates for us in the face of every accusation.   That sticks closer than a brother and lays down life for those He calls “friend.”   That comforts us in our griefs and stands in our place of judgment.   And all so we can reflect the radiance of His glory while the world looks on in disbelief.

Superheroes need not apply.  Remember, you’re just a clay pot.

Connecting to the Carrier

Impulsively driven people instinctively assume that soaring above the circumstances is something like a jet taking off.  So they try to pick up the pace on the “runway” – to do more and more, faster and faster, until the Spirit carries them higher and higher.

The results aren’t pretty.

“Even youths get tired and weary; even young men clumsily stumble” (Isaiah 40:30, NET).

Try filling in the blanks for some of these Bible verses:

I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint.  Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can _______________.’”

“Those who ____________ find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you __________.”

If your answers had anything to do with doing anything, see the previous verse about clumsily stumbling.  The answers, in order:

“enjoy sweet sleep” (Jeremiah 31:25-26).

“wait for the Lord’s help” (Isaiah 40:31).

“rest” (Matthew 11:28).

See a pattern here?  Weary people – or clumsy stumbling people – are carried not by doing more, but by waiting.  (This inevitably means saying “no” to someone or something.)

Your problem isn’t needing to catch up with the Lord or His assignment.  It’s waiting for Him to “catch up” to you.  So yesterday at lunch my friend David asked, “When was the last time you took a sabbatical?”

Heh, heh… next question?

The invitation from Jesus is to come to Him when you’re weary.  Not for fuel, but for rest.  The warning from Hebrews is to keep your eyes on Jesus, “so you don’t grow weary in your souls and give up” (Hebrews 12:3, NET).

God’s Intermediate Carriers

God has another kind of carrier to refresh the weary and strengthen the weak.

It’s you.

It’s me.

Oh, the extraordinary power still belongs to Him.  But sometimes he uses caring friends or loving people to give us rest or renewed strength.

Every time you express gratitude to someone for the impact they have made on your life, you carry them just a little.

Every time you remind someone that they are loved or missed, you are giving them wings to soar.

Every time you let them know that time or distance hasn’t changed your appreciation, or that disappointments and failures haven’t choked your friendship, you lift them higher and higher.

Every time you remind them, “I’m here” and “I am aware,” the simple reminder that they aren’t alone expands the sky above them.

Every time you cheer them on or allow them to cry on your shoulder, you carry them to places where vision and confidence are reborn.

 

When you’re at the end of your resources, maybe it’s time to reconnect to His.  When you soar past a weary traveler who has seen better days, maybe it’s time to carry their load for a while.

Everybody needs a Carrier.  The amazing thing to me is that God can use the likes of you and me to be one.  As long as we all remember who the real Carrier is, and where that extraordinary power comes from.

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