2 Kings 7:2 The officer on whom the king leaned said, “Even if the Lord should open the floodgates of Heaven, could this happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes”, Elisha answered, “but you will not eat any of it”.
It’s one thing to have our concerns and doubts about whether what God has said seems likely. It’s another thing entirely for that place of critical scepticism to be our first leaning. What ‘voices’ are there in our lives, and how much weight and authority do we give them? Does the voice of the pessimist deserve equal attention, or should it merely be acknowledged… but never leaned on?
2 Kings 18:21 (Isa 36:6) you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it!
Some of the supports we choose to lean on actually give us splinters! We find some sort of comfort from them but don’t realise they are doing us damage at the same time. If there is any ‘God substitute’ that we are leaning on, we have to reject it and turn to God and lean on (trust) Him.
Job 8:13-15 Such is the destiny of all who forget God… What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way.
In fact, if we are leaning on (trusting) in other people rather than God, in the doctor instead of in God, in the bank manager not God, in the pep talk and the power of our positive thoughts… whatever we lean on will give way like a spider’s web. And when we come crashing down, we can’t blame God, we have to learn the lesson and turn to Him, and trust (lean on) Him.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight
When we lean on our own understanding, it means our ways are not submitted to God, and therefore we are not being guided by Him. We may be asking Him passionately for things to work out well for us, but at the same time we are holding on to the rudder of our own ship and won’t let Him touch it! When we lean on our own understanding we believe that we know best, and any interference from God will mess it up for us. We’re convinced He will change everything if we trust Him and give over control. Guidance and successful journey and easier traveling (straight paths) comes AFTER the yielding of control. We want to see what His plan is and assess it on its merits before we agree to go with it. But my experience is He doesn’t even give direction until there is full submission. “Would you give up ministry if God asked you to?” I was once asked, and it rocked me to my core.
John 13:25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Once we understand about leaning on God, we realise it is not a frightening rollercoaster ride where He makes us do stuff we don’t want every day. It is about intimacy as much as submission. Like John, when there is something happening in our lives that doesn’t make sense and is hurtful, we can lean on Jesus, and ask Him for answers, or ask Him to show us more, or ask Him for peace in the meantime while we struggle with mystery without abandoning truth.
Do a personal stocktake today. What do you routinely lean on? God, or other sources? Submit to Him, lean on Him, trust Him, and watch while He straightens out the path ahead.