The Israelites journeyed out of Egypt, being rescued from their oppressors and then provided for with manna and water in the dessert only to then be attacked by the Amalekites. God remained faithful, delivering them through Moses as he stood on a hill watching over the battle with the staff of God in his hands. However, Moses couldn't do it alone, and God chose this battle to teach us a powerful lesson in the importance of community. As Joshua fought the battle below in the valley, Moses held his hands up upon the hill. As long as he held his hands high, the Israelites were winning, but as soon as he lowered them, the tides turned, and they began to loose the battle. Under his own strength, it was impossible for him not only to keep his arms held high in the air, but also for Joshua to win the battle below. Seeing a need, Aaron and Hur came alongside him, provided him a place to rest, and took on his physical burden, holding his hands up for him and seeing the Israelities victorious.
Two weeks ago, I was in the cardiac intensive care unit in Philadelphia watching over my little guy as his body struggled to adjust to a change in his heart's physiology. While he lay in a hospital bed, the rest of the family shared a hotel room down the street. Sharing a hotel room with a 16 month old who doesn't sleep through the night would have been challenging enough had it been a fun vacation much less a medical expedition. The stress was high as was the physical fatigue. It was in the middle of this journey that two friends came to see us. They saw a need, and they acted.
God, in only a way he could have orchestrated, used them to hold us up when we needed support. One week before when we checked into our hotel, we tried to get adjoining rooms with my mom. It was impossible. Friday afternoon, when I heard my friend had arrived, I texted to find out if she was in the lobby or already in her room. She was in her room...the room adjoining ours. The family who had been there the previous week had been with their daughter who was receiving cancer treatment. They were able to go home the day our friends arrived. With our friends and us each having 1 1/2 year olds, the adjoining room allowed us to put the children to bed and still spend time together in the evening, catching up and receiving some much needed emotional and spiritual nourishment.
All of us need to be propped up, both during life's difficult circumstances and throughout the daily grind. Community is how we can continue to live for Jesus when we don't know how to or don't have the strength within to do this. But, being community isn't just about receiving. It is also our responsibility to seek the needs of others and hold them up when they cannot stand under their own strength. It could be as simple as keeping them in prayer. It could be, like Moses' needed, coming on either side of them and doing what they cannot do for themselves. Not only will our actions shine Jesus' light into the dark moments in our friends' lives, but we, in turn, will be able to look and find our community pointing us back to Jesus when we are the ones in need of being reminded to keep our eyes and our hands lifted upward.