Something about heavy lifting
Corrie ten Boom tells a story in The Hiding Place of a train journey with her father. She was ten and had recently read a poem at school with the line “a young man whose face was not shadowed by sex-sin”, and she was perplexed about the meaning of this. Too shy to ask the teacher, she tried asking her mother who ‘blushed scarlet’ and said nothing.
Long train rides with her father were an opportunity for robust conversations, and so she asked.
“He turned and looked at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise, he said nothing. At last, he stood up, lifted his travelling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
Will you carry it off the tram, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It’s too heavy,” I said.
“Yes”, he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now, you must trust me to carry it for you”.*
Much later in the book, she she writes of the way in which God leads and carries us in times of confusion, loss, and amid the big questions we have. An omniscient, loving Father with an eternal perspective who is working all things for our good in Jesus, is going to have a different perspective to the vapour of life in which we exist.
His knowledge is complete and is abundantly beyond all we can imagine. Crushingly so. In his tenderness, he doesn’t crush us with knowledge too lofty for us – as much as we might profess to crave it. Instead, he carries the load for us, bearing it when we can’t, unfolding the story as we can. And for some knowledge, it seems – knowledge too deep for us to comprehend in this vapour – he carries it all the while.
The sudden death, the wave of injustice. The inequity across humanity, the unsatisfied longing, the healing that never comes; all are carried in the arms of a Father who can carry all our cares without crushing us with their load.
Paul writes Timothy that “the mysteries of godliness are great”. Seems like a statement of the bleeding obvious.
Job asks: “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” The quintessential rhetorical question, surely.
Peter and Paul ponder that mystery. Mary ponders it, too!
No, it is a rich providence that God carries these mysteries for us. He has made known his profound mystery in the person and work of Jesus.
This is what we need to know. There is heavy lifting to be done. Bags too heavy for us to bear and, on the cross, Jesus joyfully bore it all. The impossibly heavy lifting is done, and the invitation is offered to be carried by the arms of grace and love divine.
* From The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
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