"I am strong enough to carry Jesus." This was the claim made by a sweet young boy as he walked down the hall in Church today. He then showed me a picture of Jesus he had tucked into a neatly folded piece of paper. "See, I put him right here where he's safe like this, and I can carry him with me all the time."
It was a sweet exchange that made me smile. But his first statement stayed and caused me to ponder the layers of it. "I am strong enough to carry Jesus."
It conjured up images of the man carrying Jesus' cross, or those that carried His body to the tomb, or those that, no doubt, offered Him food and shelter during his mortal ministry. I think of Mary, who carried him in swaddling clothes, and an angel who comforted Him in the garden the night before His death. Jesus alone could do what He did, but He was surrounded by many who had the strength to help Him, even carry Him. And I ask myself, would I have been one of them?
I also think of what it means to carry Jesus now. Though He is resurrected and perfected and His mortal sojourn done, He is still very much alive. He has feelings and emotions deeper than we can imagine. Not only does He feel perfect love and joy, but He feels perfect sorrow and grief. Is it possible that I, here and now, can do things that can lighten His load or offer peace?
I think so. And the way I think I can do that is by “carrying” Him with me. Meaning—take His name upon me. Think of Him. Emulate Him. Learn of Him. To be a disciple. All the things we so often hear.
But, in reality, this all means that I want to be His friend and Him to be mine. The kind of friend I am proud to admit I know and love and want to be like. The kind of friend I’d follow to heaven.
It’s hard sometimes to be a disciple. We can be mocked by others. The adversary can attack our faith. Our own reasoning, the creation of false personal narratives and expectations, and surrender to fears and doubts can cause us to put Him down as if having faith in Him is too heavy for us.
Are we strong enough to carry Jesus?
I think we are.
I think He is lighter than the lightest of our sorrows and grief. He is easier to carry than our anger and grudges. And I think we are stronger than we realize we are.
They why does it seem, sometimes, hard to ‘carry Jesus’ in certain times of our lives?
I wonder if it’s where we are carrying Him.
Think of holding a full glass of water. Imagine you’re holding it in your hand at the end of an arm extended to the side. How long could you hold it there? Five minutes? Fifteen?
Now think of bending your arm and bringing your hand close to your chest. Now how long could you hold the glass of water? Twenty minutes? An hour?
I wonder if sometimes we carry Jesus, but we do it at arm’s length, keeping Him at a distance. Whether it’s because we struggle with certain points of doctrine or are unwilling to follow certain commandments, we keep Him close to us touch but far enough away to not draw Him in. Close enough to call in Him when we need help, but far away enough to let doubt weaken our hold.
But, if we were to pull Him in how different would that be. How much easier could we carry Him if He were the closest thing to our heart? Would we be strong enough then to carry Him in a world of changing values, in the face of persecution, and in the sparks of our own searching and doubt?
Do we have a place, carefully prepared by purposeful decisions and holy habits, where we can carry Him with us all the time?
I love the thought path this sweet boy led me down to. I love where I ended up today.
I have a refreshed determination to draw my Savior in. I want to boldly, and with love, say, “I am strong enough to carry Jesus.” Because I know He carries me.