December 20, 2019
Candy Canes and Candy Crutches
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. (Psalm 54:4)
Friend to Friend
I was in high school the first time I heard an atheist argue that Christians are just weak people in need of a crutch. “Jesus,” he accused, “is the crutch you lean on to get you through this life.” I was only sixteen years old, but I remember thinking, Of course He’s a crutch. Praise God for sending His Son for us to lean on, with the fullness of our fallen weight, or we’d be hobbling through this crazy life alone.
I couldn’t understand why this combative boy in my geometry class was challenging my faith with that ridiculous crutch analogy. The image of Jesus holding me up, making me able-bodied and sure-footed, only strengthened my believing heart. “You’re right,” I conceded, “you’re absolutely right. Christians need Jesus every day. However, I think we’re all leaning on something. But I’ve come to believe that whatever we lean on in this life better have the ability to get us ready for the next life too.”
“Heaven?” he asked with a sneer.
“Leaning on Jesus in this life is the only thing that will allow us to walk into His eternal kingdom when this life is over. But put heaven aside if you want. We all need something to lean on. Perhaps you’re leaning on your abilities just as heavily as I’m leaning on my Savior’s ability to hold me up.”
God is absolutely a crutch! He’s the only crutch that enables us to not only walk through the valleys on this earth but also to run full speed ahead into the high places of eternity. Praise the Lord for His sustaining, upholding, and eternal support.
The trouble is, sometimes I forget that faithful crutch and grab other things to get me through at three o’clock in the afternoon when the stresses of life add up. It’s often in the midst of real-life stress that I forget to lean on the real-Life Giver.
For instance, when my school-age kids are melting down over math homework and my husband has just called to say that he’ll be late, I sometimes grab a handful of chocolate chips. When I’ve been cleaning the house all day but still have three loads of laundry to fold and put away, I have been known to throw some highly sugared creamer into my afternoon cup of coffee or tea. When I’ve had a challenging morning at work, I often grab a leftover brownie from the night before to push me over the hump. Instead of leaning on Christ, I lean on something fleeting to boost my adrenaline and give me a surge of dopamine so that I will feel better.
Even as I write this, what comes to mind is the image of a candy cane, which is made to look like an actual cane or, better yet, a crutch. The problem with leaning too heavily on a candy crutch is, almost immediately, it breaks, and I break too, because God never intended for sugar to sustain me. Instead, God says, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22 NASB).
Big burdens, daily burdens, seemingly insignificant burdens. God can handle them all when you place them in the palm of His hands. Other translations of Psalm 55:22 similarly exhort,“Cast your cares upon the Lord . . .” I like that image too. You can cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.
In contrast, sugar doesn’t give a rip about your joy or your health, your stress or your family, your ability to bear the fruit of God’s Spirit in your life or your emotional well-being.
Nowadays, when I think of the crutch analogy, I imagine a cane—not a candy cane but a shepherd’s staff. Jesus was the ultimate Good Shepherd and I am the epitome of a foolish, wayward sheep. But I know my Shepherd’s voice, and I can hear Him calling me back into His presence again. Jesus is the true and faithful lover and sustainer of my soul. He leaves the ninety-nine to grab me each time I wander off Jesus picks me up and carries me back with the full weight of my burdens resting on his shoulders.
Friends, all other crutches will break under the weight of your burdens. Only Jesus can pick you up and carry you, because He alone has the authority and power and position to carry you into an eternal life with Him. So, praise God for sending His Son so that you don’t need to hobble through another day alone. Because of Jesus, you can run, full speed ahead, into this abundant and eternal life! Lean your full weight on that.
Dear Jesus, I’m leaning on You today. You can carry my burdens because You care for me. You are able to sustain my life because You gave Yours. No one else and nothing else was created to carry my weight. Thank you, Jesus. I lean on You today.
It is in Your strong and sustaining Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you turn to anything or anyone else to get you through your days or this long life? It’s not sugar’s job or caffeine's job or even your own job to get you over the finish line each day. God alone is the One who can carry us through our daily challenges and our eternal challenge too. Depend upon Him, friend. Lean on Him, with all your faith today.
And if you want to grow in utter dependence on Him, join us for the next 40 Day Sugar Fast! Let each candy cane you see this Christmas, remind you of the Shepherd who has the absolute authority and ability to lead you into safe pastures, both today and eternally!
More from the Girlfriends
Wendy Speake hosts an annual 40 Day Sugar Fast for women who long to turn to the Lord instead of sugar to get them through their days. For forty days you’ll fast from sugar and feast on the satisfying sweetness of Christ. Grab a copy of The 40 Day Sugar Fast book today, and join the online community 40daysugarfast.com. Our next community fast begins January 6, 2020.