Recently I had to learn to walk with a cane. I’ve also learned God wants us to learn to lean on him. Listen to the apostle Paul writing to the church at Corinth.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But that happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8,9).
Perhaps he’s referring to the riot in Ephesus. When Paul preached the Gospel there, so many believed that the city’s idol-making business almost went bankrupt. The whole city marched into the Ephesus ampitheater to cry for Paul’s head (Acts 19:23ff). Looking back, Paul remembers: “The pressure was way beyond what we could endure, like having a death sentence hanging over us. We were condemned men waiting for the kill.”
My disability can’t compare–not with Paul’s suffering, maybe not with yours. But (I’m ashamed to admit) at times I felt like I couldn’t keep going and didn’t want to try. “Why this, God?” Answer: “So you can learn to lean on me.” Argument: “But I already know how to lean on you.” Answer: “Not enough.” Not enough yet for Paul either. ” . . . this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.” It’s not enough to learn to lean on my cane; God wants me to learn to lean on him–hard, full weight, not at all on myself.
So every time I reach for my cane, I try to tell myself, “Lean on God!” I don’t always, of course. Too often I still just lean on the cane. But I pray for a mind that will remember and will make that short piece of metal the Gospel to me. God is there to lean on, because Jesus laid down his life and rose again. One day soon we’ll throw away our canes for good. Until then, let’s listen to those canes preach–and know that underneath are the everlasting arms.