Last evening, I had the pleasure to teach at the seminary I attended a number of years ago. I always enjoy going back to see my old friends, some of whom are now professors. Most people don’t realize that Bible colleges and seminaries usually have daily chapel – not only in the morning for the day students, but also in the evening in between late classes. So it was an added bonus that I was able to get on campus early enough to attend evening chapel before I taught class.
I arrived after the opening song and a young man, a student, was giving the message. He was speaking about our human condition and how we are reluctant to be anything less than perfect in our daily lives. When we have a limp, or some other infirmity, we look at ourselves as compromised and we do everything we can to get back to full strength. He went on to illustrate the point by bringing a crutch up on stage and leaning on it – illustrating the point of not being able to stand on his own – he needed the outside support.
He then started speaking about people who “limp along in life”, trying to do their own thing without benefit of help from the outside. They would rather depend on themselves than admit that they would do far better with assistance. Of course, I made the jump to thinking about all the times I have thought about self sufficiency; there are even songs written about it.
Bill Withers wrote the famous song, “Lean on Me”. It became quite a hit and dealt with the issues of leaning on others for support when life gets painful and tough. But you know what? God wants us to depend on Him. The Lord of the universe invites us to lean on Him and be made stronger in our weakness. I know that sounds impossible, but Paul, among others, really taught us that human weakness and leaning on God, even as a crutch, is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s the only way to truly be strong.
The verse for this evening is from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. He tells us, in 2 Cor. 11:30, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” Paul was no stranger to suffering. Yet he knew that God was sufficient for all his needs and only through human weakness was Paul made strong in Christ. My encouragement this evening is that it is okay to need a crutch to get through life. We all do if we are honest with ourselves. And frankly, my prayer is that you will lean on the best possible support that ever existed – God Himself. Because He calls out to us, “Lean on me!” Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…