(Originally posted on our former blog site on 6/23/2014)
Standing toe to toe- with anger, offense, bitterness, betrayal, hurt, pain, loss or grief - is nothing uncommon.
We do it several times a month, a day even, and when we aren’t the ones facing such issues it seems as though our friends are. Difficulty is all around us, and no one is out of its destructive reach. Through the many struggles of life we are faced with a decision, a choice that can only and will only be made by none other than ourselves… a decision that will alter our present and inevitably change our futures.
The battle we are facing is ours to fight, only ours, but the outcome will affect many. So we decide, we choose, to do battle. We choose to put on our gloves and confront the very issue that plagues us.
No one can carry us through; we have to do it ourselves.
Reflecting on the past few weeks I have had with many dear friends in the midst of their own storms, I have felt a bit at a loss. Helpless. Like I could do nothing to fix or change their circumstances. I want to swoop in and be the hero, make everything right again, but I can’t. The only thing that is within my ability to do is to pray for God to intercede and then join the crowd to watch their victory… and in some cases their defeat.
Some people will choose unforgiveness, some people will choose hatred, some people will choose revenge, some people will choose destructive behaviors that carry them further and further into the darkest of seas… and I have a front row seat.
Well my friends, I can't do it anymore. I can't sit on my hands any longer. I need to do something! And that is when God reminded me of Moses...
When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he wasn’t just asking him to lead them on a long walk. He was asking Moses to fight against every enemy that would come against them, and there were many. He was asking Moses to look beyond their sin, look beyond their complaining, look beyond their rebellion, and fight for them. Fight for them because he was the only one who was promised victory.
He was the only one.
In Exodus 17:8-16 we find Moses instructing Joshua to lead the army to battle as he would stand on Mt. Sinai with his arms raised. This was how God instructed Moses that they would win; Joshua would fight and Moses would stand with his hands to the heavens.
At first glance it sounds like Moses got the better end of the staff, so to speak, but have you ever tried holding your arms up for any length of time? I have… it was one of our punishments as kids. We had to stand in a corner with our hands above our heads… and it stinkin’ hurts! As long as Moses’ hands were up, they would win… but he got tired as anyone would, and his arms that once weighed only a few pounds now felt like he was carrying the literal weight of the world and as they sank lower to the ground the armies sank lower to their enemy.
Only Moses’ hands would earn their victory. Only his. Aaron (Moses’ brother) could do no good with his arms flailing in the air begging for God to give the battle to him, it was not his battle to fight. But reading further into scripture we find that Aaron could "do" something. He could do one thing. He could hold up the arms of Moses. He could support him.
Because even though Moses had to do it himself, he did not have to do it alone.
So if you are facing a battle of your own, find a friend to help hold your arms up; someone who will support you no matter their personal opinions, someone who will challenge you to keep doing right when you get tired and weak, someone who will remind you to think and speak the Word over your situation, and someone who will stand with you believing God for your victory.
And if it isn’t you that is facing the storm, find a friend who is. Be the one to decide that while you can do nothing but “be there”, that “being there” is enough.
Philippians 1:27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.