Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old fellow who always prayed, “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.” After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.
He answered, “Well sir, you see, it’s like this… I’ve got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time. It’s withstood a lot of weather, it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years. It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So, I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.
Then I got to thinking about how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms, and I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing, too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop me up on my leaning side.
I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times. Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t. So we need to pray, “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again to glorify You. We need You, Lord, to give us the strength to stand whenever we get out of balance. In those times, Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
God’s gift of faith and power are always adequate, no matter how desperate our situation has become. Exhaustion, frustration, tragedy may have burdened us down so that we despair of ever being free again. The pain may be unrelenting, the loss overwhelming, the loneliness damning. But God’s power is great enough for our deepest desperation. You can go on. You can pick up the pieces and start anew. You can face your fears. You can find peace in the rubble. You can have courage. There is healing for your soul.
–Suzanne Dale Ezell
I will tell you what happened to me some time ago when I was out West. I wanted to reach the summit of one of the Western mountains. I had been told that sunrise was very beautiful when seen from the summit. We got up to the half-way house one afternoon, where we were to rest till midnight, and then set out for the top. Soon a little party of us started with a good guide. Before a great while it began to rain, and then it became a regular storm of thunder and lightning. I thought there was little use in going on, and said to the guide, “Guess we’d better turn back; we won’t see anything this morning, with all these clouds.”
“Oh,” said the guide, “I expect we’ll soon get through these clouds, and get above them, and then we’ll have a glorious view.” So we went on, whilst the thunders were rumbling right about our ears.
But soon we began to get above the thunder-cloud; the air was quite clear, and when the sun rose we had a splendid view of his rays as they tinged the hilltops; and then, as the glorious sunshine began to break on where we stood, we could see the dark cloud far beneath our mountain height.
That’s what God’s people want – to get into the clear air above the stormy clouds, and to CLIMB HIGHER away up to the mountain peak. There you’ll catch the first rays from the Sun of Righteousness far above the clouds and mists. Some of you may be in great darkness and gloom; but fear not, climb higher, get nearer to the Master, and soon you’ll catch His bright rays on your own soul, and they will sprinkle back upon others.
–D. L. Moody
John Maxwell said, “We don’t live by bread alone. Sometimes we need a little buttering up.” He was speaking, of course, about encouragement.
The power of encouragement is that it gives people hope. When hard times come and discouragement settles over a person, a word of hope can keep that person pressing on. A word of hope says, “You’ll make it through, I believe in you, God is with you and will help you.”
Read the rest of this article by Gary Hardin at http://hopediscovered.com/
When I was in the sixth grade at Oak Forest Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, our music teacher was named Miss Larsen. All sixth graders were required to sing in the choir; it was a class that we all went to.
Miss Larsen decided that we would have a Christmas program, and so we started early in the Fall to learn the songs. Because we sixth grade boys were only twelve years old, most of us could not sing the bass line. So she had the boys singing the alto line, with the girls singing the soprano line.
I remember being so excited about the upcoming program, and how it all sounded when we put the two parts together, that I would often sing in the shower when I was getting ready for school. My mother would take as much of it as she could, before she would tell me to stop singing and finish getting ready for school.
She told me on more than one occasion that I sounded like a dying cow!
However, when the night came for our program, and the sounds of the little girls singing the soprano part and the little boys singing the alto part filled the school auditorium, my mother sat there with her mouth hanging open. She remarked later that after hearing me rehearse while in the shower, she never dreamed that it would ever sound as beautiful as it did. The problem was that she was only hearing the alto line, sung by a sixth grade boy.
The problem with us many times is that we are only hearing the discordant notes of life as we move through it, without understanding that there is much more music to this score.