He Is Yahweh: The Eternal God Will Carry You Through
The journey of fatherhood remains filled with immense reward. One of my wife and I’s favorite pastimes has always been going for outdoor walks together. We love hitting the trails at local parks to soak in the fresh air, get in a cardio workout, and behold the beauty of God’s creation. When our son and first child, Joseph, was born, we decided to take him along for our weekly outdoor adventures. Accomplishing this meant strapping him to my chest in a snugli. He enjoyed the ride and smiled ear to ear to have the front seat view. And I didn’t mind the added weight, which equaled a better leg workout and more calories burned.
I carried our little guy up and down the rolling hills, around winding trails, and through rugged terrain for miles at a time. Of course, I had to exercise care. Some paths were too treacherous to tread with a toddler in tow.
Similarly, God looked after the Hebrew people as he led them through the barren land of the Sinai wilderness:
The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness, where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place (Deuteronomy 1:30-31, NRSV).
For forty years, “the Lord” (Hebrew, Yahweh) ushered the Israelites through unfamiliar desert lands, revealing himself strong on their behalf amid hunger, dehydration, and the many quarrels threatening to divide them. He steered his people’s course and, in due time, brought them into Canaan, the Promised Land.
Since Joseph, we added two more kids to the mix—our twin girls, Katarina and Theresa. While it’s not practical to strap two kids to my chest in snuglis, we found a double stroller and started taking the girls on many of the same excursions as when it was just three of us. As our kids grow up, I aim to be there for them, to guide and see them through no matter what obstacles lie in their path. I will walk beside them through whatever valleys they have to cross or mountains to climb for as many years as I have on God’s green earth.
Yet, as surely as the terrain changes, my days on earth are destined to come to an end. Thus it behooves my wife and me to build into our kids a solid foundation in the faith, teaching them the ways of God’s word and the power of prayer. This way, even after our time on earth comes to an end, they (and we) can rest assured that Yahweh (literally, “I am the I am”) will carry them through. The meaning of this Hebrew name implies the self-existence and eternality of God. The life and purposes of Yahweh are not conditioned on any other being in the universe; indeed, he created everyone and everything. He is the eternal God, existing from the beginning of time (even before time since he’s the author of time itself). Because God has always been and always will be, I find consolation in the reality that although my days here on earth are numbered, he will still be standing by to look after my children long after I am gone.
Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4, NIV).
Our heavenly Father walks beside us to steer our course and direct our path through whatever wilderness we face, now and forevermore. Indeed, even after we grow old and weary, Yahweh is still keeping watch over our posterity to guide, sustain, and rescue our dear ones in their hour of need. We can have confidence that the Eternal One will one day bring to fruition his plan, ushering every child of God into the Promised Land.
Streams in the Desert – June 9
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Trust in the Lord and do what is right! Settle in the land and maintain your integrity! (Ps 37:3)
I once met a poor colored woman, who earned a precarious living by hard daily labor; but who was a joyous triumphant Christian. “Ah, Nancy,” said a gloomy Christian lady to her one day, “it is well enough to be happy now; but I should think the thoughts of your future would sober you.
“Only suppose, for instance, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose—”
“Stop!” cried Nancy, “I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I knows I shall not want. And, Honey,” she added, to her gloomy friend, “it’s all dem supposes as is makin’ you so mis’able. You’d better give dem all up, and just trust de Lord.”
There is one text that will take all the “supposes” out of a believer’s life, if it be received and acted on in childlike faith; it is Hebrews 13:5, 6: “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
—H. W. S.
“There’s a stream of trouble across my path;
It is black and deep and wide.
Bitter the hour the future hath
When I cross its swelling tide.
But I smile and sing and say:
’I will hope and trust alway;
I’ll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I’ll borrow none today.’
When Jesus Cries With You
JUNE 9, 2021
“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. … Jesus wept.” John 11:32-33, 35 (NIV)
I’m pushing a grocery cart through the freezer aisle when my phone rings.
My heart jumps into my throat.
I’ve been waiting for days for this call, so crowded aisle or not, I answer.
She talks fast, pulling-off-a-Band-Aid style, like if she says it fast, it won’t hurt so much. But this is no Band-Aid, and this wound is never going to heal.
Memory loss … progressive … still early …
I know too much to be fooled by the might-not-be and the it’s-too-soon-to-panic statements. I hear all the things she can’t bring herself to say. We’ve been begging God to spare our loved one this diagnosis, but this is a resounding “no.”
I stand rooted, numb. Time is frozen — I am frozen — in the frozen-food aisle. People shoulder past me, some shooting me irritated glances. How could they know the woman blocking their way is a daughter in mourning?
We all have “no” stories: times when hopes flew and prayers pleaded, but God said “no.” And in those times, it can be tempting to doubt God’s heart and to question His love. But Lamentations 3:33 assures us, “… [God] does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (NIV).
That’s the truth we need to know when we’re hurting, isn’t it? When life knocks us down, tramples us under a thousand stampeding feet, we need to know that God doesn’t desire this pain for us. He isn’t up in heaven indifferent or — worse — secretly gloating.
In my mind, no moment depicts this truth more poignantly than when Jesus stood with Mary and Martha outside the tomb of their brother, Lazarus. When Lazarus fell ill, Jesus could have rushed to heal His friend, but instead He intentionally delayed His coming.
When Jesus finally arrived, several days too late, He met the mourning sisters at the tomb. Jesus already had the happy ending planned. He knew that in mere minutes, He would call Lazarus back to life. The sisters’ cries of mourning would turn to shouts of praise.
And yet. With all that joy only moments away, Jesus stopped. He stood there beside — I always picture Him between — these two sisters, and He wept with them.
I’ve heard people speculate all kinds of profound reasons for Jesus’ tears. Why would Jesus cry, knowing He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead? There must be more to the tears than empathy. Jesus must have been weeping for the lost world, or mourning His own impending suffering.
In my view, those theories are trying too hard. Way too hard. I suspect it’s as simple as this: Jesus’ friends were hurting, so Jesus was hurting. In His tears, I hear these words: “I’m sorry I had to let you go through this. I see your anguish, and My heart bleeds with yours.” It didn’t matter that the pain was almost over. The pain still mattered.
Do you see what this means? Jesus hurts with us. Even if He knows better days are coming, He hurts with us today — right here, right now. Wherever we are: at a desk or in the car, beside a hospital bed or a gravestone. He meets us in our present-tense pain — stands with us, weeps with us, mourns with us. Because our pain is real, and our pain is His pain.
Now that’s love. That’s a God I can trust when I’m hurting. That’s a God I can lean on even when He doesn’t give me what I ask.
Confidence in God’s love changes everything about how we suffer:
We go from suffering alone to suffering while wrapped in the strong, comforting arms of the Father.
Our tears still fall, but they fall on broad shoulders.
Our cries still sound, but they are heard. They may even be accompanied by cries of His own.
God loves you forever and for always.
Even when He says “no.”
“On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him, as they stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.” – Joshua 4:14 AMPC
After Moses died, some Israelites likely had questions about his successor, Joshua. What kind of leader would he be? Could he hear from God and effectively lead them? God soon made it obvious that Joshua was the right man.
His leadership became clear as he stood before the Israelites, preparing to lead them across the Jordan River. God “magnified” Joshua in that moment, which is not the same as being popular or receiving praise. This caused the people to stand “in awe of him,” just as they had been in awe of Moses.
Joshua’s faithful service to Moses gave earthly merit, but God’s blessing exceeded any natural praise or popularity. This honor only can be given sovereignly by God to those who please Him.
Many people focus on achieving worldly success. They may gain riches, impress others, and experience short-term fame. They may seem to gain the whole world. But as Jesus warned, in the process they may “forfeit [their] life” (Mark 8:36). The Bible reminds us that our priority should be on pleasing God. The only honor that matters is the honor He gives.
Remember that seeking God’s kingdom should be your priority. Serve Him with your time, talents, and treasures. Make it your goal for Him to say of you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Seek to be pleasing to Him.
Father, I commit my life to You. Direct my steps. May I please You with my choices. May my life bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.