Sustained by God
Summer time seems to take me back to the sweet memories of childhood more than any other season of the year. Recollections of going barefoot and wading in a cool creek, enjoying watermelon and hand-churned ice cream, stringing beans and silking corn, going on picnics and taking car rides with the windows rolled down, are just a few of the happy memories that I cherish.
But I also remember Mama standing over a hot stove with sweat dripping from her brow as she canned those beans and other vegetables and fruits; Daddy as he worked tirelessly hoeing and weeding that garden after a full day of work; and also my grandparents, whose aging bodies slowed their steps and diminished their strength.
Then, I’m reminded that life, even with all its joy, can also be hard. All of us have our share of difficulty and trouble in this life. Yet, I’m learning that in and through it all, there is One who holds it altogether. In Colossians 1:17, Paul writes: “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” This One is God Himself, the Creator of all things.
I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I felt like it was my job to hold everything together – even in those times when it seemed like everything was falling apart. But the above Scripture assures me that holding things together is not my job. That’s God’s job.
But just as a child tightly holds a loved, but broken toy, instead of relinquishing it to the one who can fix it, don’t we often do the same? We think we know what is right. We want to do things our way. We forget that the One who made us, who planned our days, who orchestrates the entire universe, tells us to trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When we place our trust in God, we commit to doing things His way – even when we may not understand. Scriptures remind us that we can never fully understand God’s thoughts and ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. This is the Lord’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Yet, this same God not only takes over all our “stuff” and holds everything together, He also holds us together, as well. He promises to sustain us (i.e., strengthen, comfort, help, encourage, and even, carry us when needed) as we commit our way to Him.
- He strengthens, helps, and holds onto us when we are afraid.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- He steadies and supports us when we are worried or troubled.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
- He comforts us in all our afflictions (i.e., suffering, pain, sorrow, distress, adversity).
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
- He keeps (holds onto, retains possession) our mind and gives us peace.
“You (the Lord) will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
- He holds onto us.
“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, Destroy!” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
- He will never leave or forsake us.
“And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
I am so thankful that I don’t have to be the one that holds everything in my life together. I am thankful for a God who loves me, watches over me, and is always there for me. I am especially grateful that He sustains me in the middle of my sometimes crazy life – that He strengthens and steadies me, comforts me and gives me peace, and holds onto me when sometimes I just can’t hold on anymore. Just as I felt loved, protected, and safe all those summers ago, my God reminds me that He will sustain me today, and tomorrow, just as He sustained my parents and grandparents in both the joys and difficulties they faced. What more do I need to know?
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”