Tires – A Car’s Support System
A car needs four tires. If one gets flat or is removed, then the car can’t go. One tire by itself can be OK as a swing or something, but it won’t get you anywhere… OK, so I am NOT a mechanic. I know that, so I am smart enough to know when the car is having problems that I need to take it to someone who knows what they are doing. When our spiritual life is out of whack, we need to do that, too. If my car analogy is a bit of a stretch forgive me, my area is spiritual.
In today’s society there is an undercurrent that you must be self-sufficient. You need to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Independence is everything. In fact, in Psychology the notion of being “co-dependent” is supposed to be a really bad thing. That undercurrent has made many people believe that they have to face their problems on their own and if they don’t then something must be wrong with them. I believe this goes against the very fiber of our being. We were created to be in community.
In Genesis 2:18 it says, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” (NRSV) Most people interpret this as husband and wife, which is part of it. The Hebrew is much broader. The word “man” is Adama, which is the word for humanity. So, Adam means human. So, it can be translated, “It is not good for a human being to be alone.” We were made to be in relationship. No one can make it entirely on their own. So, my first tire is find someone to be your “helper.” You need to find someone who you trust to walk with you through life’s journey; someone who will not abuse or take advantage of your vulnerability. This person can be a spouse, a best friend, a co-worker, a sibling, but needs to be someone who will always be on your side even when you don’t want to hear it.
The second thing society says is that you don’t need a church… OK, part of that is because churches are made up of imperfect humans who don’t always do what the church is supposed to do. But we as human beings need a community to uphold us. I have found many churches that do love you as you are. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he advises, “2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NRSV) The law of Christ is to love one another as Christ loved us. How we do that is to come along side each other and bear one another’s burdens. None of us were meant to bear the weight of the world alone! We were meant to be in community. So, your second tire is a community to support you.
Now, if you are one of the tires, you may think that you are fine with the first three. A tricycle is fine, right? But the forth tire is the most important tire. The forth tire is God. When life is hard, and you are hurting is a time that many people turn their backs on God. “God let this happen to me…” or worse yet, “God did this to me…” On the opposite side, some people feel broken, dirty, or guilty. “God wouldn’t want me as I am.” So, many people try to deal with their brokenness alone. They can believe that God abandoned them.
Have you ever read the poem about the footprints in the sand? The person looks back at two sets of footprints in the sand and notices that at the hardest times of their life there is only one set of footprints. So, they ask God, why God abandoned them when they were in the most need. God’s answer, “Where you see only one set of footprints, that is where I carried you.”
The second half of Matthew 28:20 says, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV) This is the very last thing Jesus says to his disciples before returning to heaven. When we feel that God isn’t there, it is something wrong with our senses, not an actual lack of God’s presence.
When I was little I had horrible nightmares and night terrors. My mom found a picture of Jesus holding a little blond child in his lap and hung it over my bed. She told me that when I woke up from a bad dream and was afraid that I could remember that Jesus was holding me. I was safe in his arms even if I couldn’t always feel it.
People can let you down. Even the person you trust the most, that community that you have found to walk beside you, and you are all human. We will all fail sometimes, but God won’t. God promises to be with you in good times and bad, joy and suffering. So, actually, God should be tire number 1, not 4. If your three other tires go flat, you can depend on God to never let you go it on your own.
That is my best car analogy. In this life get a good set of tires. Get a partner and a community to walk with you, but don’t forget to invite God along.
And a link to the video:
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