Skip to main content


Several Many home assignments ago we did a slide show (yeah, it was real slides and not power point!) on carrying burdens.  In the Songhai language, there is more than one word for "carry".  To carry on your back, to carry on your head,to carry in your arms or by hand, and to carry on some form of transportation are all separate words.  Here in Niger we see things being carried in ways that leaves us pretty amazed at both the strength, the dexterity, and the ingenuity of the carriers.

Recently I've been reading through Isaiah and came across two different kinds of "carry" as well.  Now, I'm no Hebrew scholar so I can't tell you if two different words are actually used or not.  But certainly the two pictures Isaiah paints are different!

In the first picture, Isaiah pokes some fun at those who worship idols.  First off, they have to make their own idols and then they have to carry the idol around from place to place.  Not only do they make the idol, they also are burdened by it.  What they created to help them out is really no help to them at all.  Isaiah says in chapter 46, verses one and two, "their idols are borne by beasts of burden.  The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.  They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity."

The idols are dependent on the people who created them.  Even though it exhausts them to carry them around, they keep doing it.  They carry them on their heads, on their backs, in their arms, on a cart.  The work of it is a drudgery.  They are weary and exhausted, but they can't put down their idol.  

Then Isaiah paints another picture of "carry".  In this picture, God is carrying us!  We are weary, exhausted, and feeling like we can't go on.  Isaiah says in verses three and four, "Listen to me..., you whom I have upheld since you were conceived and have carried since your birth.  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."  

In one picture, we created the idol, so then we have to carry it.  But in the other, the God of the universe created us and He carries us!

Earlier Isaiah had told us in chapter 40 verse 11, "He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."  

And in chapter 40 verses 28 to 31, Isaiah told us, "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

So, it's easy to think how cool this is that God carries me like a shepherd carries a lamb or gives me strength like an eagle.  But the part about carrying around my idols? How does that relate to me? I don't worship idols.  

But do I have other things I insist on carrying around with me?  My problems, for example.  Often they become big in my mind as if I'm creating some kind of monster I have to carry around with me.  Or maybe I create ideas I have that aren't the greatest ideas, but I don't want to give them up.  Sometimes maybe it is something I think we should or shouldn't do and John doesn't agree and I really want to insist on my own way, carrying around an opinion and making everybody miserable.

What do you think might be idols?  What things do you carry around because you created it and you want it and for no other reason?  Things you insist on keeping even though they exhaust you?

I'm so glad I don't have to carry those things around!  I can lay them down, give them up.  I can hold up my arms to the Lord and let Him carry me.  How much easier that is!

(The pictures in this blog are all from that original slide show we did back in the early 1990's!)


Beth said…
Loved this post, Nancy!
Katie Barker said…
I too enjoyed the post - and the pictures. Even from "back then" they are still really good pictures.

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  

I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

2016 in Review

Let's take a look at the year 2016.

January's big events were the dedication of the Tamajaq New Testament, our annual Spiritual Life Conference, helping friends find a house, a trip to visit missionaries in the bush, attended a big wedding, and celebrated John's birthday. It was a pretty busy month.  My January picture is from our trip to the bush and shows baobab trees.  

February was a little less crazy.  John started taking moolo lessons.  February is the time of year when the fresh fruits and veggies are in season so I did a lot of work to freeze veggies for the hot months ahead.  This picture isn't terribly exciting, but a year after the church burnings this church we helped plant back in 1989 finally had a new ceiling and a fresh coat of paint.

In March we attended another big wedding, froze more veggies, celebrated Easter, and visited a church in another town.  John and I have visited a lot of churches in the past three years as he has done research for his doctora…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…