Location: My Grill
Exodus 17:8-16 (NIV)
"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 17:12, NIV).
My husband and I just bought a new grill last week, so of course, we wanted to cook everything on our new grill. Our house smells super smoky right now. One evening we started up the grill and heard thunder in the distance. But the sky looked clear, my trusty weather app said there was no rain predicted for that night, so I thought, you know what, let’s just keep going, I’m sure it’s going to be fine. It’s not gonna rain here. But sure enough, the rains came apouring. All of a sudden, we were not worried with our safety or dryness as much as our new grill’s safety. We just bought it, so we didn’t want it sitting out in the rain hot with cold water on it. It might crack, it might get rusty. And the grill was too hot and smoky to put the cover on it. So, at first, my husband tried to position our huge patio table umbrella next to the grill so that the grill would stay dry in the rain. But the winds were too intense and it kept falling. So as my husband kept nursing the coals of the grill to finish our dinner, I stood next to the grill holding the patio table umbrella in place over the grill.
As the wind was blowing, the rain was coming down sideways, and I was holding that oversized patio umbrella upright, it reminded me of the precious moment of Moses, Aaron and Hur in Exodus. During the battle against the Amalekites, it was only when the staff of God was raised in Moses’ hands that the Israelites were winning. When Moses had his staff lowered, the enemy was winning. And when Moses’ arms got so tired from holding the staff, his right-hand men had to put a stone under him and held his hands up, one on each side (Ex 17:12).
I don’t know what tough time you are going through or what challenge you may be facing, but I do know that you can’t make it alone. And sometimes, we feel pressured to do it alone. Sometimes we feel like we can't bring our baggage to the church, to our family, or even to our friends, because we’re worried we’ll be judged if we don’t measure up. And some of us have felt the sting of rejection from confiding in people we thought would care about us. And if that’s happened to you, I am so sorry. Our experiences may have reinforced us to hide our challenges inside, resigning to the fact that we just have to deal with it all on our own. And haven’t we all tried to make it on our own at some point? We think if we can just try harder, work longer, read the right book, go cold turkey, we can stop our bad habits, our bad thoughts, or our pain for good. But every time we try to do something on our own, it fails. We go back to our coping mechanism, we keep spiraling in our unhealed wounds, and, like Moses, our arms get tired from carrying the weight of the world in our hands.
No, we can’t do it alone. We need help. Just like my husband needed me to hold the umbrella steady during the storm, we need help keeping ourselves steady in the storm. We need something to prop us up when we’re too tired to keep going. We need the power of God to lift us up, the sustaining power that the Holy Spirit gives. And sometimes, this power of God comes through the vehicle of others. Just like Aaron and Hur had to lift Moses’ hands up, sometimes God’s power works through the people who help lift us up: a timely word from a friend, encouragement from a partner, a discovery from a trusted counselor, and yes, sometimes, help from our medication (gasp!).
Sometimes, this power of God comes through the vehicle of others.
Friend, I want you to know if you think you’re in this battle all alone, you are not alone. You have a God who is present with you in every battle and in every storm and you have a God who can redeem every circumstance for good. And if asking for help from someone or talking about your challenges seems really scary, I totally get it. And I want to encourage you to have faith. Yes, you might be judged, you might be rejected, that’s possible, and you might be welcomed, you might be loved, and you might take your first step on the path towards healing.
Gracious God, who was with Moses in his battle and empowered him through his friends, give us the sustaining power of your Holy Spirit for our battles. Give us the courage to lean on those around us, to speak up about our challenges, and to lovingly welcome someone who confides their tough times with us. Help us to stand firm in our hope that you will redeem and restore everything for good. Amen.
Brueggemann, Walter. “Exodus” in New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary Volume 1, general editor Leander E. Keck, Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.
Dozeman, Thomas D. “Exodus” in The Old Testament and Apocrypha Fortress Commentary on the Bible, edited by Gale A. Yee, Hugh R. Page Jr., and Matthew J. M. Coomber. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.
by Erica Smith
Nature noticer, contemplative wannabe, coffee drinker, wine taster, and novice painter.