Leaning on the Everlasting Arms 

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.Deuteronomy 33:27

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.  Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27.
Isn’t it a great thought to think that God is supporting us, and that His arms are strong enough to hold us during difficult times?  That truth should provide a refuge for us.  In times when relationships disappoint us or finances fail us, it is encouraging to know that there is one who is everlasting and whose arms are there for us to lean on. 
The Apostle Paul tells us about a weakness he had in 2 Corinthians 12.  He referred to it as a thorn in the flesh.  (I have heard of some scholars that speculate that it was homosexuality, since Paul was Greek and his relation to Timothy was thought to be pederastic.  However, this is pure speculation and remains a 2,000 year old mystery.)  Paul prayed that this weakness would be taken away.  He prayed 3 different times, and God chose not to remove the “thorn.”  He then tells us about an important spiritual truth.  If the “thorn” was Paul’s homosexual urges, then I would speculate that God did not remove the thorn because God did not see it as a thorn or a weakness.
Whatever the perceived weakness was, the truth is that God uses our weaknesses, our flaws, and our personal challenges, and does something extraordinary.  He takes His strength and our weaknesses, and He does something awesome with that combination.  He allows us, in weakness, to share in His glory and power.  Paul then makes the following statement “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  What an amazing statement!  Delight in weaknesses? insults? hardships? persecutions? and difficulties?  To be honest, I struggle with having that kind of mindset, even though I know it is truth.
Sources:

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

One response to “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms 

  • Patrick Mahoney

    I remember singing this song surrounded by loving friends who gathered in a little store front church when I was a teenager. Our pastor would not let us oragnize a choir because he felt strongly that the congregation was the choir. LOL Singing together was as important a part of our worship experience as the sermon and the ordanances. Thank you for bringing this to mind on this beautiful day. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine!”

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