We maneuvered up to the curb in front of the physical therapy center. He with a new knee only a week old, stared at the elevation of the concrete edge a moment.
Sometimes a single step can seem mountainous.
“I think I could do it if I had someone to lean on,” he said.
Over the years, he’d battled cancer, had a heart attack, and multiple knee surgeries, but I never heard him say this before. He’s an “I can do it myself” kind of guy.
He could probably dead lift me, no problem. Strong for a man of any age.
Though he outweighed me by sixty pounds, I didn’t hesitate. “Lean on me,” I said.
I had leaned on him plenty of times. After breast cancer surgery, when trying to emerge from a Phenergan and morphine fog, I had to walk, and it seemed impossible even to stand. I leaned on him.
So now he put his arm on my shoulder, lifted the good knee up to the curb, and followed with the bruised one, raising himself to the sidewalk.
He wasn’t heavy at all.
In another cultural reference that’s sure to date me, a few lyrics drifted to mind from Bill Wither’s song, “Lean on Me,” and I hummed the tune under my breath as we navigated through the door of the center.
I once witnessed a friend who was recovering from having suffered over forty broken bones in a car accident try to get out of bed one afternoon. She stared at the floor a long, long time.
Sometimes that single step takes all the courage we can muster, but we can climb all kinds of mountains if we have someone to lean on.
As Bill wrote, there will absolutely come a time when each of us, without exception, will need that shoulder. That is true in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm.
Deuteronomy 33:27 reads, “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
This morning, after I had already written this post, I came across these words in Streams in the Desert, “God is constantly trying to teach us our dependence, and to hold us absolutely in His hand and hanging upon His care. This was the place where Jesus Himself stood and where He wants us to stand, not with self-constituted strength, but with a hand ever leaning upon His, and a trust that dare not take one step alone. It teaches us trust.”
We will face situations for which a human shoulder just will not do. So good to know that God is eternally steadfast.
D.L. Moody once said, “When a man has no strength, if he leans on God, he becomes powerful.” I love that in our weakness, we may lean into his strength and find grace for every situation.
It’s my privilege to have my guy lean on me. But more than this, we are both leaning hard on God.