You wanna know what passage of Scripture brings tears to my eyes within seconds of reading it? You wanna know what passage of Scripture comes to mind when I think about loving friendships and intimate gal-pals? You wanna know what passage is near and dear to me this Valentine’s Day?
It’s found in Exodus 17:8-13 and it reads as follows:
“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side, So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”
Did you catch that?
The Israelites were in a battle and Moses’ plan was to stand on a hill and raise the miracle-wielding, all-powerful staff of God in His hand. When his hand was up, their team was winning. And when his hand was lowered, they started losing.
This was the staff that had been turned into a snake at the burning bush, and it was the staff that parted the waters of the Red Sea. So if you ask me, it sounded like a pretty smart battle plan.
Raise the staff, win the war!
But the only problem?
Had Moses considered the endurance that would be required of those biceps and triceps of his? Had Moses considered how weary his arms would become?
I don’t know the answer to that, but I know what his friends did.
Aaron (his faithful brother) and Hur (Ummm…does this not sound like a tough-sounding friend??) see that Moses’ hands are growing weary during battle and so what do they do? They sit Moses on a rock and use their own arms to prop up his.
Hopers, as I type those words, my eyes fill with tears.
Because if I had been asked to write this post prior to June 8th, 2017, I couldn’t write this post in the same way. I just couldn’t.
See, I have always had great friends in my life; I truly have.
I have had a plethora (by His great grace) of soul-filling, truth-speaking, love-pouring, time-sacrificing, fun-having, hand-holding friends. I have. And man, oh man, am I ever grateful.
So what changed since June 8th, 2017? Why has my heart grown and my love of friends deepened? Why has my appreciation for the gift of love (through friendship) changed? What happened?
I’ll tell you…
I had a need.
In fact, I experienced (for this first time ever in my short life) a “hold-my-arms-up-because-they-are-bone-tired” kind of need. And like Moses, I’ve had the kind of friends (much like Aaron and Hur) who have seen my needs, observed my hurt, and moved a rock and given their arms for me.
On June 8th, 2017, our family of 4 embarked on a journey of Foster Care… taking in our first placement. On that day, we welcomed a 3 month-old bundle of brown-creamy joy into our hearts and homes, and she turned both our souls and our world upside-down (and in some ways, right-side up). It was good. SOOOO good.
And though we don’t regret a single moment of any of it. Not a single moment of those 237 days we loved her. If I’m being honest, there were times when the journey was hard and the walk was wearying.
The appointments, the meetings, the visits, the routine, the needs, the information, the learning curve, the adjustment, the sacrifice, the fears, the hurts, the emotions… the EVERYTHING… was at times, a lot.
And through that journey, the Lord was so incredibly faithful to meet our needs with the Manna of Friendship.
These friends became our tribe… our net… our propped-up arms.
This net brought meals; it sent gift cards; it provided childcare; and it paid for coffee dates. It offered shoulders to cry on, hearts to lean on, and words that breathed timely truths and kind encouragement. It was a net that sent clothes, bought diapers, penned notes, wrote checks, made blankets, and delivered unexpected and intentional gifts to all five of us. It was a net that invited us for meals, took us on dates, and sent us packing for overnight get-away nights. It was a net that welcomed new, embraced different, and encouraged faithfulness. It was a net that called, texted, e-mailed, prayed, and pursued. It was a net that sent hand-crafted ornaments, bought personalized gifts, and gifted us a family photo shoot. It was a net that asked intentionally and checked in consistently. It was a net that supported the weight of our weary and held the pain of our fears. It was a net that rallied around us, hemmed us in, and went before us in prayers and petitions. It was a net that allowed space for angry questions, scared silence, blunt honesty, and panicked break-downs.
As we faced the battles, they stood beside us. When we became weary, they held us up. When we struggled to stand, they brought “rocks.” Truly, they were our real-life, modern-day Aaron and Hur’s that reinforced our weary arms.
They were iron-sharpening friends. Proverbs 27:17
They were encouraging, helping friends. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
They were friends who loved earnestly. 1 Peter 4:8
They were righteous and wise friends. Proverbs 12:26, 13:20
They were friends who were quick to do good. Hebrews 10:24
And they were friends who loved at all times. Proverbs 17:17
Hopers, these friends were the extensions of His arms, the manifestation of His hands and feet, and I am eternally grateful.
I don’t know what your circle of friends looks like; I don’t know what your needs are; and I don’t know what season of life you are walking with others, but could I encourage you with two things?
Be a friend who moves “rocks” and “lifts up arms” and let your friends do the same for you.
Because I believe, with all my heart, you don’t need Cupid and you don’t need chocolate when you’ve got Aaron and Hur Friendship.