folded hands
Brace yourself…these are the words I heard the Lord speak to me last Wednesday night as I sat watching my four year old granddaughter play with her toys. As I heard those words I began to pray in the Spirit.

As it usually goes when Brailee is with me, if I pray in the Spirit, she mimics me, she prays with me. I have never corrected her or thought it was odd, it’s just how it is with us when I pray in the Spirit.

I continued to sit in my chair, watching her play and we were both praying in the Spirit, this continued for about an hour. At one point Brailee said ‘Nana, why are we praying?’ I said ‘I don’t know honey, I just feel we need to pray.’

That night, over and over I heard God say ‘brace yourself.’

Terror Hits Home

The next morning as most of you know, we began to hear reports of a shooting at multiple locations in our area. Malls were on lockdown all around us. All government offices were on lockdown. The news was horrific. I could not believe this was happening in my area, just moments away. When they closed the road that is a couple miles from my home, it settled in and I began to grasp the horror of what was happening here in our cities.

I have seen these types of things in large cities but I never imagined this place would be a target. It became real to me very quickly, and not in a world sense, but in a my part of the world sense.
The more we watched things unfold, the more oppressive it was. Breanne and I were constantly talking about what was happening and the horror of it all. At one point I had to turn off the news, turn on worship music and refocus. Even though it was just miles from me, I had to get my mind back on God. Once again I heard my God say ‘brace yourself.’

At first I thought ‘what else could today hold?’ However, I knew a few things. I knew God’s voice and the tone of His voice and it was not bringing fear but comfort in those two words ‘brace yourself.’

Knowing this, I went to my computer and began to look up the meanings of those two words. When I found the definitions I knew what God was saying.

Same Words, Different Meaning

While most of us know ‘brace yourself’ to mean ‘get a hold of yourself for you are about to hear something really bad or experience something really bad.’ That is not what God was saying. In earlier days when people first starting using this phrase it meant ‘lean into or upon something so that you will be able to maintain your balance, no matter what comes your way.’ Ahhh…I see God!
Brace yourself didn’t mean what I thought it did, it meant you will make it through the storm you simply have to lean into something or lean on something or someone.

It made sense now. Proverbs 3:5-6 says; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Lean into God

This scripture is telling us to TRUST GOD, first of all and it is also showing us which thing we need to lean into. In times like today, we see much evil around us, we can’t lean into what we are hearing and we can’t lean into our own understanding in these things, we must trust God and lean into Him.

When He was telling me to ‘brace myself’ instead of what I perceived it to be, He was telling me to lean into Him. It reminded me of a few weeks ago when Bryson was sick. He was very weak and was having trouble walking. I put my arms around him and said ‘here, buddy, lean on me, and I will help you.’

As he leaned into my arms, I was able to steady him when he was unable to steady himself. This is what God is saying to us today.

Keeping Balance

God is saying ‘lean into me, I will wrap my arms around you and steady you – you will be able to maintain your balance and peace, if you lean into me.’ What an awesome promise.

When horrible things happen, although we have to be aware of it, we don’t have to allow it to take us out of a place of peace in God, we don’t have to allow it to cause us to become unbalanced, if we lean into God.

As God began showing me this on Thursday I walked into my bedroom. I had left worship music playing all day in my bedroom, I had forgotten to turn it off when I left that morning. It was so peaceful in that room. The atmosphere in my bedroom was vastly different from the atmosphere in the rooms where the news had been broadcasting the events of the day. Why? His presence kept balance in that room. The rooms with the television and news broadcasting were more oppressive, much more oppressive, much heavier.

We keep balance by remaining in His presence. We keep balance by leaning into Him when things are too heavy for us. We keep balance by leaning into Him when we can’t walk steady on our own.

Friends, we are in challenging times, there is no doubt about it and this week it came closer to home than I ever imagined. But it did not take God by surprise, He gave me instruction before it happened …brace yourself…lean into me and I will keep you steady. Isn’t that a great promise! It is a promise for you and for me, in challenging times we can lean into God, He alone can keep us steady.

I want to leave you today with a song, one we sang years ago…
Learning to Lean, Learning to Lean
Learning to Lean on Jesus
Finding More Power than I ever dreamed
Learning to Lean on Jesus

That’s what we find when we lean on Jesus … more power than we ever dreamed…let’s learn to lean.

We pray today for the families and the loved ones of the shooting victims in Chattanooga. Father, comfort their hearts and speak to Your people during this time. May we be a beacon of hope and a light house of peace. As You bring others across our path, may they be made aware of Your presence in our lives and as they inquire, may we share with them how to lean into You. That You alone are our source of comfort and strength and our only hope. In Jesus’ Name. Chattanooga+Strong