I could hear the deep and earnest tones of the preacher : "And, O Lord, support us! Yes support us Lord on every leanin' side!" Streams in the Desert took me into the world of a southern prayer meeting. I have been at such meetings even in Scarborough, Ontario. In fact, it was at one of those that a Jamaican sister saw me in a "picture" playing with African children and we both agreed it was a sort of vision of the future for me in Africa. Before I did go to be a missionary in East Africa, I spent time in Jamaica in missionary training, and so appreciated the same kind of earnestness at prayer meetings there.
But this brother's words touched me in some deep place. How much I can feel like I am leaning and almost toppling over at times, with reactions and triggers about situations and people, that throw me off balance in how I handle my emotions and my life. I am so grateful for all that God is doing, and His instructions to "make straight/level paths for my feet" gain new depth with the concept of Him supporting me on "every leanin' side".
Flashback to other meetings with Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda. Those times I was the leader/facilitator, usually leading Bible classes or workshops at Scripture Union conferences, often with Ugandan co-leaders, and invited guest speakers. On one such occasion I had an enthusiastic young Christian from England share his favourite songs. My dear Ugandan Bible class members and I thrilled to the actions accompanying these words:
Whose side are you leanin' on? (Leanin' on the Lord's side) ( action - leaning back with a bounce)
I lean, I lean, I lean, I lean (Leanin' on the Lord's side).
Other verses went on to illustrate other things we do on the Lord's side, like jump, sing, clap, etc.
So the general import seemed to be to encourage us to do everything God's way. Seemingly more about choosing to follow Him, than to think of leaning ON Him.
Now a whole new picture has emerged for me. Yes, I choose to lean on Him, as in choosing to be on His side in everything. But leaning is about so much more than jumping or clapping or whatever. I really do need to lean on Him in every way, and to recognize that I have many "leanin' sides", and that I need to ask Him to support me in those, to "straighten me up" in every way that I need Him to, not in harshness but in gentleness and support.
And so I share these other deep loving words quoted in Streams in the Desert on that same day:
Child of My love, lean hard
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
"I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love." Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
The government of worlds. Yet closer come:
Thou art not near enough. I would embrace thy care;
So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it. Doubt not then;
But loving Me, lean hard.
Yes, let's lean hard, and feel His love today.