“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” – Steven R. Covey
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman
“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.” – Mary Baker Eddy
I know Richard Feynman was a physicist, but his quote above seems to describe the quantum mechanics that have surrounded my life. I have been a fool far too often – fooling myself about what matters most, who to trust, and what to lean on when things fall apart and no longer make sense.
How about you? What is your record when it comes to leaning on things when life has you staggering and on the ropes? Has your trust and confidence been put in places of stability and steadiness, or have you become a fool like me – leaning on things and people that are imperfect, unreliable, and unpredictable?
Friends, family members, spouses, and coworkers are human – struggling with their own needs, agendas, and issues. The institutions we have always leaned on like government, churches, schools, and healthcare have proven they cannot be trusted or always have our best interests at heart. Wealth can be unstable, health unforeseeable, and steady employment undependable. We can lean on the temporary respite that alcohol, drugs, sex or food provide, but they are never solid or sustainable in the long run – providing more harm to us than good.
If you cannot rely on people, institutions, finances or health, you can always lean on yourself….Right?
Well my friend, I can tell you that I have been my own worst enemy at times 😊 If I must lean on my own ability to reason things out and ALWAYS come to the proper conclusions, to continually do the right thing for myself and others, or to be my own source of strength and emotional comfort, then I am leaning my ladder against the wrong wall – referring to the Covey quote above. I have found I am the least reliable of them all!
Of course, leaning on God is the answer, but what does that mean? Is it more than simply having faith and trust?
I find it ironic how we can take an idea like trusting and leaning on God and turn it back egotistically on ourselves – falsely believing that OUR level of faith is in direct proportion to how much God can be relied on. If we struggle trusting God or believing in Him, then God will naturally struggle with the idea of being there for us when we need him most. We falsely humanize God’s reactions and by doing so, we begin to doubt He can be counted on.
Also, we egotistically operate in our own reality and reasoning. We see the chaos and confusion all around us and cannot imagine God is even around or a part of it. We quantify trouble and hardship with God’s absence or indifference. How can you lean on someone who isn’t even there?
So, when it comes to leaning on God, what do we lean on the most?
I lean the most on who God is – His immutable character attributes – things that are not contingent of my level of belief or driven by my personal interpretation of the current events in my life. They are not whimsical or here today and gone tomorrow. They are unchanging and eternal. They are never subject to anyone or anything or driven by emotions or circumstances. The Bible says He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
If we must lean on who God is, then who is He really?
He is Sovereign
“O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” – Jerimiah 32:17 NLT
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” – Colossians 1:16 NKJV
“Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” – Psalm 115:3 NIV
God is in control of all aspects of life. Not one thing happens here in this world that God hasn’t dictated or allowed. His sovereignty isn’t limited or constrained. It isn’t driven by our belief in His control or by what we feel is spinning out of control in our lives. God is the Ruler over ALL of His creation at ALL times and in EVERY circumstance. When people or events are beyond our control, we can lean on God sovereignty knowing His purposes are being fulfilled.
He is Loving
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” – Romans 8:38 NLT
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.” – God speaking in Jeremiah 31:3 CSB
“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8 NLT
Love defines who God is. It is at the very heart of all His actions. This love for us is eternal and unconditional – not driven by who we are and how we behave. We can always lean on His steadfast love for us!
Think about just the two attributes I’ve mentioned thus far. If God is always acting out of His love for us and He is always in control of every event and circumstance of life, then what seems horribly unjust or unfair, what appears to be devastating, accidental, or judgmental is being ALLOWED temporarily for LOVING reasons in the long run we may not understand or comprehend.
He is Omniscient
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” – Romans 11:33 NIV
“I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” – Isaiah 46:9 NIV
Time is no constraint to God. He knows what was, what is, and what is yet to come. We can lean on His guidance and His wisdom because He knows what lies ahead. We can take comfort in knowing He understands our past and sees things in others we do not see and understand. Too often we lean on our own reasoning, the advice of others, and our conclusions about what will happen down the road. Only God knows all things! We can trust He sees the complexity of all that has happened in the past, what is going on right now, and how that fits into all that is yet to come.
He is Present
“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” – Proverbs 15:3 ESV
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 NIV
God is always present in our lives. His omnipresence means that He is never gone one minute and here the next. That presence is never driven by our request or determined by good or bad circumstances. Bad things happening in our lives doesn’t mean God is no where to be found. He is continually listening, protecting, guiding, and ready to help. We can lean on knowing He is always in the center of all things as they unfold.
His Characteristics are Immutable
“I the LORD do not change..” – Malachi 3:6 NIV
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 ESV
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8 ESV
Who God is never changes over time. He isn’t in control one minute and not the next. He never goes from loving you to hating you. He never leaves us and then decides to come back. What has happened in the past or what is coming down the road is never seen now and then later becomes unclear. We never have to doubt that He will always be the same. Things change, people change, circumstances change, but God will always be true to His character. We can lean on that!
When you truly contemplate these character attributes, how could we be so foolish to lean on anything else in our lives?
May God continue to reveal more and more of Himself to you my friend 😊 As He does, you will lean on who He is more than anything else in life! As Mary Baker Eddy states above, big blessings in the form of peace and assurance lie in store for those of us who lean on “the sustaining infinite” God of the universe!
May our sovereign, loving, ever-present, all-knowing, unchanging God be your source of strength, your Rock, and your Fortress!