He Will Carry Us

 

Lost Sheep 9.17.19

 

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.  Luke 15:1-6

 

As I listened to the verses being read aloud, my heart started pounding more rapidly. I heard the words, but I saw myself in the story. As Jesus put that lost one on his shoulders and began to walk home, something broke loose in me. It was what I had been longing for almost every night within this chronic illness wandering: to be lifted and carried away from the thorns.

 

Over these past 5 years, since my chronic illness diagnoses,  I have met my Savior, my Shepherd, in more intimate ways than I ever could have imagined. He called me beautiful when I found myself so ugly. He called me chosen when I found myself separated and cut-off. He called me by His own royal name when all I could hear was minimizing and neglect. He called me His daughter, and I hid in His embrace.

 

But when I listened to the story of that one lost sheep, I realized that even after these many precious words He has spoken to me, I have still felt tangled in thorns and separated from where I was supposed to be. I have still rebelled at the thought that this place of weakness could be the very place that He knew I would be in. When I have looked longingly back at the place of my own strength, I have not acknowledged that this place of tangled thorns has been the place designed for precious carrying by Him. For if the thorns had never tangled me, I would never have felt the amazing intimacy of His arms when all of my own physical strength had been utterly depleted.

 

Several weeks ago, God highlighted another set of Scripture verses, and I have been pondering them ever since, leaving the windows open in my search browser so that I would see them every time I opened the internet. But when I thought about my Lord carrying that lone, bleating sheep over the rutted pathways, I suddenly saw such a beautiful picture in those verses He had given:

 

Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126:6 NIV

 

Jesus weeps over each of us lambs. We are the ones for whom He has planted such deep seeds. We are the harvest, we are the sheaves He is singing over as He carries us so close to His heart, right over His shoulders.

 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7 NIV

 

 

pools 9.17.19

 

 

And when I am finally brought to those places where all my strength is found only in Him, I am part of His seed sowing AND His harvest. I am one of those who are called “they” in these passages, part of the singers flooded with His springs of water, dancing in His pools of strength.

 

Recently I was able to begin reading the new book from Elisabeth Eliot’s writings, Suffering is Never for Nothing. And as I sat pondering these thoughts about the thorns, I remembered a poem that I first heard quoted by Elisabeth. I quoted it here, several years ago. But the poem and the suffering have taken on fresh meaning yet again in this season of my life. My Shepherd makes use of every thorn, every pain, every pass around the season of autumn and suffering. His purposes are so full of love.

 

The Thorn
I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift that I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
    I cried, ‘But Lord! this is a thorn! and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift which Thou hast given me.’
He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.’
I took it home, and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
 As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace:
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides His face.
–Martha Snell Nicholson

 

Have you glimpsed those tangled thorns capturing your strength? I would love to pray with you today as we allow our Shepherd to come after us, to pick us up, and to place us over His own shoulders.

 

Dear Lord Jesus,

We come to You today, admitting that we have been Your lost lamb, so tangled in thorns that we have no strength of our own left. Forgive us for looking back longingly, trying to find our own way. Would You help us to look to You and find Your arms so sufficient for us? Thank You for the seeds You have sown in our hearts. Thank You for the harvest that You are reaping even now, as You place us close to Your heart. Help us to drink deeply of Your springs of life-giving water. Help us to sing with You through the valleys transformed by YOUR strength.

In Your name, we pray,

Amen.

 

 

 

I am linking with:

#TellHisStory

#TeaAndWord

30 thoughts on “He Will Carry Us

  1. A beautiful reminder of the thorns. I especially liked the verse in Psalms … 7 They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion. Kind of a one day at a time. strength for today and new strength for tomorrow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, that’s such a wonderful reminder for our days. Just one day at a time, strength for here, and then He will take us into more strength tomorrow. All from Him. Thank you so much for sharing and praying dear friend. Gentle hugs!

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    1. Oh thank you Dear Melissa, I am so grateful that we can pray for each other on this journey. Yes it is such a comfort, even here tonight, when I so quickly hear myself snapping at my husband again, to find the strength of the Lord for every moment. He is just so merciful to us!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Bettie, I love how God leads you deeper into His love as you suffer the thorns. I love the picture of Him disentangling you as His beloved sheep from the thorns and carrying you on His shoulders. The deep, deep love of our Shepherd brings tears to my eyes. How true this is – “For if the thorns had never tangled me, I would never have felt the amazing intimacy of His arms when all of my own physical strength had been utterly depleted.” Again I am blessed here, my friend. Thank you! Love and further blessings of His wonderful, sustaining grace!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      And I love the way that God wove our posts together today. Truly He never abandons one of His lost sheep, but goes after us all. He knows that we have no strength left to find our way to His mercy, and so He picks us up and carries us when we are most fearful. Thank you for being such an encouragement and blessing to me dear friend. I am so thankful that the Lord allows us to be blessed as we read each other’s words! Love and blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, how thankful I am that He carries us when we do not have the strength or courage to walk on our own. I, too, have felt those encircling arms lifting me and holding me close when I could not take another step alone. Thank you for this encouragement, dear friend. Praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Aren’t those arms of our Dear Savior so precious? I know you understand the beauty of being in that place of being carried. Thank you so much for your encouragement also. I am so grateful that we can pray for each other across the miles.

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  4. Aw, Bettie … this is beautiful: “And when I am finally brought to those places where all my strength is found only in Him, I am part of His seed sowing AND His harvest.” It’s so comforting to remember that the painful things our heavenly Father allows into our lives always, always have purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lois,
      Oh yes, you are so right that “the painful things our heavenly Father allows into our lives always, always have purpose.” May I learn to trust Him more and lean into His shoulder right there. Blessings to you!

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  5. There is so much in this that touched me today, but I am so weak and so blind I can hardly comment. I am in a very very weak place right now. Exhausted, low, and blind. I love those thorns Bettie. They are beautiful, and with uou I embrace the thirns. Bless you dear Bettie ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I have tears in my eyes to think that you used your precious strength to write here today. How blessed we are that Jesus let our paths cross, miles away from each other. Your life is a blessing to me. You show the love of Jesus in such beautiful ways! May I learn to embrace the thorns also my dear friend! Blessings and love to you today!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear dear Bettie. Blessings and love to you to. I have been reading through some of your recent postings, andbthey lufted me. It was so good to find a kindred spirit. No one likes pain. I certainly don’t, but there is a way through it even though sometimes we may not feel it. You write SO beautifully Bettie. I wish I could write as good as you. You are wonderful. I am going to read more of your postings when I can. They are just so beautiful. Bless you, bless you, bless you, Bettie. We hold hands with open hearts across the ocean. Distance is no object to God. Our hearts and souls are linked. ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are so right, there is no distance in our Lord! He is redeeming all of our pain, and making that way through it all one moment at a time. Gentle hugs and prayers for you today dear friend. Your words and poems always touch me so deeply too!

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  6. Sharing your journey continues to lead me to understand that suffering always comes with the love and grace of our Father. It is raw and so redemptive.

    The poem was beautiful. I’ve never thought about the thorn as holding back the veil to see God’s face. Such love! Thank you for sharing your heart on this page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that poem so beautiful, Mary? I carried that last line with me for years, and was so thankful when I finally found the whole poem online a few years ago. Jesus does give us such love and grace of our Father. Thank you for being such an encouragement to me. May He bless you with great encouragement too!

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  7. I’ve loved those old pictures of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, carrying the lamb close to His heart for a very long time! Thanks for the reminder!
    And, what an awesome thought, that He “takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides His face.” Seeing His face truly makes it worth it all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Ruth, your last thought is so beautiful, “Seeing His face truly makes it worth it all!” It reminds me of that great hymn, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ, One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase, so may we run the race, till we see Christ.” He is carrying us to that sweet place with the Father, and it will be so worth it all. Love you dear sister!

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