Lean on One Another
On March 6, 2023, I experienced a stabbing pain in my lower back. To say it was terrible, or excruciating, even debilitating, does not do it justice. I had never had pain so severe that my hands and arms shook. And I could do nothing to stop it.
Over the next few weeks I saw my Primary Care Physician, his Physician Assistant, a Radiologist, an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner, a Neurosurgeon’s Physician Assistant, an assortment of Medical Assistants, and a Hospital Emergency staff.
X-Rays indicated a thinning of two disks in my spine, causing the vertebrae to pinch a major nerve. 1 Initial treatment focused on powerful pain medications which dulled the pain as well as sent me into another universe. (I was very loopy.)
We must seek to love one another.
Depending on the translation, there’s a phrase that often appears in the Bible as one another. The first version is found in Genesis as “iysh el ach” and means “one to a brother.” 2 Slight changes in the words alter the meaning to one upon another or among themselves.
Throughout the Old Testament these refer to a closed group…my brothers, family, tribe, people. Then Jesus comes along, changing everything. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.3
Sounds like the Old Testament, doesn’t it? But the word He uses is allēlous which carries the idea of continuous reduplication. In other words, Jesus commands this love be shared by everyone, with everyone. There is no closed group!
For we all need somebody to lean on.
One of my favorite songs is Lean On Me by Bill Withers. 4 Though it came out in 1972 when people were terribly divided, his message was quite simple…we all need someone to lean on. When I was in the midst of horrible pain, I needed people to lean on.
Tiffany Leavitt made sure Ciloa continued getting the Notes out and encouraging people around the world. 5 Beverly, family and friends came to help. And I received so many messages…from Scotland to Australia and Malaysia to Nigeria…letting me know I am loved and prayed for. Amazing!
Thanks to everyone for your encouragement. My journey is not over, and though the pain continues, it is not as bad as at the beginning. How could it be? My Father gave me you to lean on. And never forget, you can lean on me.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) The technical terms are Spondylosis and Facet Hypertrophy which, unless God chooses to intervene, I will have the rest of my life. (2) Read Genesis 42:21. (3) Read John 13:34-35. (4) Lean On Me, 1972, Bill Withers (1938-2020), Sussex Records, Inc. (5) Tiffany Leavitt is the Chief Operating Officer of Ciloa, in case you didn’t know.
Pictures: Banner: No One To Lean On, photo by baona, Getty Images, IStock. (1) Man with a Walker, Shutterstock. (2) John 13:35, PicUK, picclick.co.uk . (3) Lean On Me, by Bill Withers, 1972, video by Anme07, 2021.