Isaiah 40:11 – He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. (NIV)
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)
Deuteronomy 1:31 – The Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son. (NIV)
Margaret Fishback Powers is the author of the poem Footprints in the Sand. The poem appears on pillows, cups, and posters. The theme of the poem is that Jesus is the caring one.
Lillian Daniel has a contemporary version of a similar theme. It is the story of a farmer taking his hog to market.
- The man picked up a huge hog and carried it for a short distance and then put it down, panting and sweating. He repeated the process with determination. Suddenly, the farmer was overtaken by a jogger who commented that it was going to take the whole day to get to the market, but if he drove, it might take a few minutes. The farmer replied that as far as he knew, time meant nothing to the hog.*
Jesus was a good communicator. He knew that the majority of His hearers could not read. However, the inability to read was compensated for by the ability to remember, to recall stories, and to be able to share them. The skill that Jesus used is known as the telling of parables, which are a type of analogy or a succinct lesson with a specific meaning. The English word "parable" is from the Greek word "parabole" and the Latin word "parabola" meaning a comparison.
The comparison between the farmer and the jogger could also be the comparison between a healthy lifestyle and one that is so urgent that there is no time to stop, to contemplate, and to renew our spiritual and physical resources.
Another possible meaning for me of Daniel's parable is that sometimes we rush like the jogger; sometimes we take our time like the farmer; and there are times when we are like the hog: we are carried, supported, and upheld by God and friends.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for the times when You carried us through the trouble and turmoil in our lives. Thank You for the opportunity to appreciate our family and friends, the wonders of Your world, the help that we have received, and the work that our hands and minds achieve to Your glory and name. Amen.
* Lillian Daniel. When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. New York: Jericho Books, 2013, pages 119-120.