Encouragement for Today - May 21, 2007
Leaning into Jesus
“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask him which one he means.’ Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’" John 13:23-25 (NIV)
For eight years my husband Tod and I led the senior high group at church. As a young married couple, we poured our hearts and lives into those teenagers and were rewarded beyond measure.
Throughout the school year we followed a similar pattern that always started the same way: building community. In the fall we welcomed a new group of kids into the group, and we knew how difficult it would be for them to make friends. At that age, kids have already begun the process of segregating into like groups. Our goal was to create one group, not five or six.
So we planned a variety of games and outings to help the kids have fun together, get to know each other and eventually to trust each other enough to be honest. That trust was part of the foundation for the coming months when we would get into deeper issues of faith and life. Would they open up in front of their new friends? Or would they clam up when the tough subjects got raised?
One “game” we played to create community was the “trust fall.” It’s a common youth group activity that involves standing with your back to someone and then allowing yourself to fall backwards into their arms. It’s very scary to lean into someone else and trust they won’t step back, letting you fall to the ground, or be physically unable to catch you. We knew from years of experience that even the smallest kids can do this, and it was a good exercise for the “faller” and the “catcher.”
In the book of John there’s a passage that demonstrates when one of the disciples had this type of faith in Jesus. It was in the Upper Room, and Jesus had just washed His disciples’ feet. They returned to the table and Jesus was predicting that someone would betray Him. It must have been a distressing moment to hear that announcement and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) does what seems to come naturally: he leans into Jesus.
John was already physically close to Jesus, but the passage says he got even closer: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask him which one he means.’ Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’" (John 13:23-25 NIV)
John believed Jesus wouldn’t push him away or scoot over. John knew he wouldn’t be embarrassed by Jesus rejecting him. John trusted Jesus enough to lean back against Him.
It’s scary to trust. Betrayal, theft and dishonesty abound. People whom we think will “catch” us, let us fall. When we try to get close to some, they back away, leaving us ashamed and wondering what’s wrong with us.
The only One who won’t back away, won’t let us fall, and will wrap His arms around us when we lean into Him is Jesus. What an amazing gift we have in a Savior who welcomes our presence, our questions, our concerns and our love.
Dear Lord, thank You for always being there for me. I’m sorry for those times I’ve turned to people instead of to You. Help me to trust You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst
Think of a time when someone you trusted let you down. Take that hurt to Jesus in prayer and ask for His comfort and healing.
What are some common areas in life where people let us down?
List some ways that Jesus has been faithful to you.
What does it mean to lean in to Jesus? Think of some practical ways you can lean into Jesus this week.
Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (NIV)
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (NIV)
Psalm 25:2, “In you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105