Sitting On Shoulders

0109. Sitting On God’s Shoulders

You see it all the time at parades and watching fireworks: a child full of joy sitting on their parent’s shoulders watching the show. If you were to stand next to them, you would notice that even though the child is smaller than you, they tower over you, and have a better vantage point. The child is really doing nothing, as the parent below is doing the work by carrying the weight of the child. As simple as the following question may seem, it is an important one to discuss: how did the child get into that position?

There are several components in the process to answer this question. It’s not like the child just crawled or jumped up there; that would be too dangerous. So in order for this to occur, several things are required: some by the parent, and some by the child. First off, the parent must be willing to rest the child on their shoulders. There may be instances where the parent is too tired or is physically unable. If this is the case, nothing happens at all. However, if the parent is willing to do it, the next step would be for them to get down on their knees. In other words, they must lower themselves to the level of the child to initially get them on their shoulders.

Now, the child also has requirements in order for this to work correctly. First, they must be willing to trust their parent to sit up there. Sometimes children are afraid of heights or of falling, and therefore do not want to climb onto their parents. If this is the case, then once again, nothing happens at all. However, if the child is willing to do it, then they must also lower themselves in order to climb onto their parent’s back. Once all of the requirements are met and the child is secured, then the parent slowly raises themselves and the child off the ground, and the child is in a much better position.

This simple act we have just discussed has many parts and shares responsibility between the two parties, which is why it makes an excellent analogy for our relationship with God. How many times have we cried out to God, asking him why our prayers haven’t been answered, why our burdens haven’t been lifted, why we don’t feel more joyful, or why we don’t seem to get anywhere in life? We may think we are doing all the right things and have faith, but all that seems to happen is we go around the same mountain again and again, like the children of Israel did after leaving Egypt. So let’s break down the process once again, but this time from a different perspective.

First of all, is God willing to put us on his shoulders? Psalm 55:22 (CSB) tells us: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Time and again, the Bible shows us that God is willing to be there for us. So the answer is yes. The second part is that God must lower himself to our level. And there can be no better example of this than God sending his son Jesus among humankind to lay down on the cross for us and pay for our sins. Mark 10:45 (CSB) teaches us: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Therefore, God has fulfilled his requirements when it comes to wanting to lift us up onto his shoulders, and will always be there. So what about us?

The first requirement for ourselves is that we must trust God, and want him to lift us up. Unfortunately, much like those scared children, we can find this very difficult to accomplish. In a God-omitted culture where deception lurks behind everything we see and hear, trust is a very rare commodity nowadays. And to trust someone that we cannot physically represent, well, that’s why we call it faith for a reason. With faith at all time lows in our society today, trusting God is sometimes not even within the realm of possibility. ¬†Nonetheless, if we want God at work in our lives, we have no other option. Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB) commands us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” If we can’t trust God, then we will never reap the benefits of being on his shoulders.

Even if we did trust God, there is still a second requirement: we must lower ourselves so we can climb on board. In other words, we must humble ourselves before God. In this day and age where we must shout out everything we do on social media, being humble and admitting all of our inadequacies can be very frightening and intimidating. Admitting this in our culture today will most likely get you canceled. So we build up our armor and walls to display an illusion of strength, despite the fact that we are all broken inside in one way or another. However, once again, if we wish to see God transform our lives, we have no other option. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (CSB) commands us: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” It is being humble that signals to God that we are ready to be lifted to new heights. Not because of what we do, but because of who he is. We can then have a better vantage point and enjoy the view.

Most of us struggle with our relationship with God because we think of it as a partnership. We really do want to have ownership over our lives and actions, because it gives us a sense of control and power. However, thinking this way does not really allow God to participate, and limits his effectiveness. Rather, if we are struggling with our relationship with God, we should always remember that joyful child sitting on their parent’s shoulder and ask that simple question: how do I get up there? Ponder that this week.

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