“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset” Exodus 17:11-12.
My arms have been tired lately. I laugh a little as I type that because I certainly haven’t been the key figure in any war between any armies. I do feel a little, or maybe even a lot, war torn for a thousand small reasons due to a thousand small darts from the enemy. This passage in Exodus paints such a beautiful picture of why we need others around us. With all the miraculous things that God did and had recorded in Exodus alone, I have often wondered why he didn’t just give Moses super strength. Exodus 17:11 could have just as easily read, “And because of the hand of the Lord on Moses, his arms remained steadfast until Joshua defeated the Amalekite army.”
The picture painted in verse though, isn’t one of a man on an island doing wondrous things by the Lord’s great power acting as a loan vestal. It’s a picture of an exhausted man, battered by the people God had asked him to lead to freedom and all the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to get them there. It’s a picture of a man who isn’t strong enough on his own and needs others around him.
I think of Aaron and Hur that stood on either side of Moses. They were no doubt equally exhausted. First, they were likely standing. In order to have the leverage they needed to support the arms of Moses they had to be above where Moses sat. This would have taken no time at all to become a weary task. Add to that holding the dead weight of exhausted arms…their task was not one we should skim over as an easy thing to be carried out. Their support of Mosses was a sacrifice of comfort and an exhausting endeavor.
I think about the past several years that have gone by in my life and the friends that I have encountered. Not every friend is meant to be the support to hold up our arms. Each friend that we have brings something unique to the table. Something no one else can offer us. We also find that some people come to our table who aren’t friends at all. They don’t support us. They tear us down. They knife us when our backs are turned and they woo us to our faces. Those are not friends. Those people do not fight our battles with us nor can we properly fight with and for them. It’s ok to let those people go in love.
In weeding our gardens, we find those people who are our battle ready friends and they usually are the most unlikely in the garden at first glance. We have our truth tellers. The friends that we trust completely to speak truth over us and into us, even when it hurts or it’s not what we wanted to hear.
We have the friends who support us no matter what. The one who calls and says “What do we think about this individual? Do we hate them or do we love them?” That friend is the one that will take your side and fight for you even when she knows you are dead wrong. And when you figure out just how wrong you were because your truth teller friend fills you in, this one will still take the fall with you.
We have life givers who pour into us when we are empty and have nothing left to give. They don’t have to ask; they just see on our faces or sometimes even feel it in their spirit that we are empty. They are the ones who tell us why we are chosen and special and gifted and that we need to get our booties back in gear and get back out on that battle field and wield the weapon God designed for us to wield.
There are also secret bearers who hold the depths of who we are. The things that almost no one else knows, they know and they hold those things in the strictest of confidence while also making sure those things are growth points and not stumbling blocks.
Then there are the friends who break for us when others attempt to break us. The ones that cry harder than we do over the insults and complaining and back stabbing they hear being done when our own ears aren’t present. These are the friends that value us with such high regard that the knife meant for us, pierces them too.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list of all the things that friends bring to the table. It’s just a small look into the garden God has given me. I have to weed that garden often to protect myself and those who grow with me there. It’s a place where the battle weary find rest. To have friends growing in your garden next to you, means that you too are growing in their gardens and you bring attributes and strengths and life to their table. Friendships are never a one-way street. There will be times where you are Moses and they are Aaron and Hur and then there will be times when the reverse is true.
I am thankful that while God could have chosen to give Moses super strong arms for the task, instead he gave him super loyal companions who were willing to be for him what he could not be on his own.
I am thankful that in life when the darkness comes, while God could light it up all on his own, often he gives us friends with flashlights. I am blessed to have and to realize that God has gifted me, not the ability to go around tough times, but the small army equipped to walk through those times with me.
I got a text from a friend the other day who was typing out a Psalm she had read that she felt I needed. The only way she could have known that I needed those exact words in that exact moment was that she’s been doing battle for me on her knees and God told her what I needed. She has been holding up my arms.
I broke down and cried with another friend sitting in her car with a cup of coffee in my hand. If you know me, you know that I almost always have a cup of coffee in my hand but I very rarely cry. This friend didn’t freak out and didn’t ask a thousand questions. She simply took my cup of coffee out of my hand, tipped my head onto her shoulder and she let me cry. This friend has been holding up my arms.
These friends have been my Aaron on one side and my Hur on the other and I will be theirs when the time comes. My encouragement to you is weed your garden and find your Aaron and your Hur. Don’t neglect those in your garden who will truly be your “one on one side, one on the other.”