“The Lord upholds all of those who are falling and lifts up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14
They are known as “mule women.” Often carrying more than twice their weight in portable goods, the women transport a number of products back n’ forth between Morocco and Spain every day. It’s a grueling, inhumane, and back-breaking way to eke out a living.
I recently saw a picture of the massive weight they carry on their backs and was blown away. (Google “Moroccan mule women.”)
We’ve probably never transported an enormous load of merchandise between two countries, and we can’t imagine the conditions of extreme poverty in which they live. But most of us can relate, at least in some way, to the plight of these women.
We wake each day, beleaguered by our own burdens, bearing their hefty load once again. Some days, the weight feels heavier than others, but each day exacts a toll, nonetheless.
We wonder, “Why hasn’t God removed the load from our shoulders? Why doesn’t He just take it away all at once?”
Well, sometimes He does.
Remember when Jesus heals the woman who had been bent over for 18 years (Luke 13:10-13)? Healed in an instant, she rightfully responds with joyful praise.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – what He doesn’t remove, He upholds.
Because you see, the Lord will often choose a more drawn-out approach to our troubles – while He compassionately shoulders the weight alongside us, step by step. The psalmist reminds us that His eye is on the worn-down, on those who are about to fall beneath life’s crushing load.
But it gets better.
Not only does He see us – He also “upholds” and “lifts” us up. Renowned preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, draws our attention to the fact that both of these verbs are present participles, “the form of the verb shows that He is always doing this. He is Jehovah-upholding.” In other words, this is not a one-time act, nor will He eventually tire of supporting us.
His eternal, unchanging nature means He will be this way ad infinitum. (Google it.)
Let that sink in for a moment.
He will never stop loving us; never change His compassionate nature; never stop being our Savior and Lord.
Sadly, many of us fail to experience the reality of His sustaining power in our daily lives. We simply neglect to tap into it on a regular basis. This is like having access to a limitless bank account and never making a withdrawal.
Whatever encumbers us, our role is to live in a continuous state of surrender, asking for His help throughout the day. This won’t remove all adversity, but it will rejuvenate our strength and enable us to keep moving forward. Looking back, these experiences produce a powerful testimony of His faithfulness.
Joining with the psalmist, we can declare – He might not have removed the burden, but He upheld me every step of the way.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH