Remember that song made famous by Bill Withers called “We all need somebody to lean on”? Having heard it on the radio, I was thinking about the meaning of those words when a quiet little voice interrupted my thoughts, like a perfect commercial. I felt this impression: “Why don’t you substitute the word “need” with the word “have”? Because every single person on this earth has Someone they can lean on.”
I was driving, and when this thought struck, I almost pulled the car off the road just to savor the moment. Instead, I continued to ponder over the message as I made my way to a medical appointment, one which gives me a bit of angst each time I make the trip to get the latest and greatest on how I’m doing’. But How I’m doing’ is answered by tests performed, and not by any answers I give, or information that is outwardly seen. I guess I feel a bit cowardly. And I’ve been fighting with myself about it.
“Get over yourself.” “Trust more.” “Deal with your afflictions with utter grace.” “Don’t let the news get you down.” Sound familiar with anything you’re going through, or have dealt with?
“Yes, I really do have someone I can lean on. Even more substantial and ever present and totally encompassing than my husband. My Savior has always been – will always be – there for me. The Perfect Someone to lean on.
This may not sound at all profound. It is something I have known’ for years. But you know those “Ohhhhh” moments when a principle of eternal significance sinks deeper into our being, lighting our soul? I had one of those relative to leaning on Jesus in even new and simpler ways.
No matter what I may know, what information I have at my disposal, or how many good and loving folks are nearby, there is One who knows exactly how I feel and can be trusted in all things, at all times, and in all ways. Even the best friend, the sweetest companion, the most educated professional on whom we may rely has his or her limitations.
Remembering important examples and instruction
Elder Russell M. Nelson’s words, “Even though you may be learned in the ways of the world, don’t forget the power of God” became sweeter to me today. As a physician, he has shared several examples of the Master’s healing when medical doctors with great experience could only stand and wonder what to do.
My mother’s favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) became even more strengthening.
I’m not even sure what “all my heart” means, because it seems to keep growing as I get older and go through more experiences. But I suspect it means to turn as much as I know over to Him, and toss my own thoughts out unless they are ratified by the Holy Spirit.
And then I remembered a conversation I’d had with my cousin [who is among the most faithful and trusting people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing] yesterday. Because she deals with very heavy physical challenges, I pay close attention to her words. They are never negative, never bitter, but full of optimism and goodness. After we chatted about lots of subjects, she told me that when she first got her diagnosis of cancer, she heard these words, “Whose report will you believe? The doctor’s or the Master Physician’s?”
She has chosen to lean on the Savior. So far, she has surprised a great many in the medical community, and been a light and example to a whole lot of folks who know her.
Here’s the thing: She trusts. She remains optimistic. She serves others as best she can. She is secure that, when her time comes to leave this frail existence, she will go to a better place. She leans on the Everlasting Arm.
My cousin is a beautiful example to me and reminds me of my mom, whose own trust in the Lord was powerful.
At those times when I get a bit down in the mouth, or reach out for a steady arm to hang onto, it is good for me to remember my cousin. To remember Elder Nelson’s counsel. To further digest Proverbs 3:5.
The beauty and strength from “just the right” scripture at “just the right” moment
Today in my personal reading, I once more was drawn to the words in Moroni 7:3, “Wherefore, I would speak unto you… that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord; from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” At just the right time, I found a huge comfort in these words I’ve read lots of times. But today they spoke to me more personally, with more soul resonance, than at any other time. It was just the right scripture I needed and brought a lot of joy and a lot of comfort. So simple, right? We are asked to read the scriptures because they can – and do – make our mortal journey sweeter and better.
What beautiful, hopeful words! There is rest even here in this sometimes dark and dreary world, when we enter into the rest of the Lord. With him, we all have Somebody to lean on.
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who had the blessing of joining the LDS Church as a teenager. She has worked for many years to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with other folks. Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her latest venture is to create a website to focus on, bring attention to, and grow the goodness in this world. Please visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com. It has just been rebuilt and is now ready for sharing!