Hold My Arms
I remember this one time, at band camp, our band director decided to hold a contest. Between all the marching drills and the memorization of sheet music, he decided we needed something fun to break up the monotony. Not exactly sure what the prize was, but the challenge was to hold your arms straight out, perpendicular to your body, for as long as you can. You were counted out if your arms dipped down too much or, of course, if you slapped them down to your sides. They had to be in a straight line or you were disqualified and had to sit down.
I remember desperately wanting to win, for whatever reason. I mean, did I really need bragging rights at band camp?
Feeling a quiet confidence rise inside of me, I pepped myself up mentally as if cheering for my own personal team of one. I was pumped and ready to win. My arms would be under my authority, and they wouldn’t fall until I told them to, and I was determined not to tell them to until all competition had given up.
I remember holding my arms out, and breathing deeply and calmly. I remember pushing through the pain of the burn of my muscles, just to get a shot at remaining in the contest. Ultimately, the pain turned to numbness, which I allowed to sink in, believing that once my arms were completely numb, I’d have no problem keeping them in place. As my band mates all around me kneeled in defeat, beads of salty sweat dripped down my face. The Houston humidity and the scorching sun taunted me. My arms ached and began to dip. Though my heart wanted to finish and my mind willed my arms back up to their original position, my body couldn’t respond past the numbness and opposed my every will. The few left standing were so intensely wrapped up in their own struggles, they weren’t the least bit worried about mine. And those sitting all around the field simply watched on, waiting for the next victim to fall and join the ranks of the disqualified. I realized in that moment that no one was there to support me, physically or emotionally. I was literally all alone in this endeavor, trying to win this contest singlehandedly. With no help or moral support, eventually my arms dipped, my heart sank, and my confidence deflated. As I lowered into a fetal-like butterfly to soothe the sorrows of defeat, I felt the weight of not being the last to remain standing. Can’t say I remember who was. All I remember is that I wasn’t.
The calling is exhausting when you have no support. God made us for relationship, specifically for the role of supporting one another. Wives as helpmeets to their husbands. Iron to sharpen iron. Not forsaking the assembly of the brethren.
Relationship is built on support and help. The support that we get from another believer outside of ourselves helps to keep us in line with the will of God.
In your calling, that help, that support, is so important, it can seem to determine whether victory is imminent. Look at the parameters set around the victory for the Israelites. Seemingly, all Moses had to do was hold his arms out, stretched wide, for victory to be won. But while the Israelites fought Amalek, Moses fought fatigue.
11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed.
12 When Moses’s hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.
13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.
Exodus 17:11-13 CSB
Moses fought fatigue but not alone. His help, his support, aided him just when he needed it. When he could no longer will the body to stay in the necessary position, his help gave him the support he needed to remain in position. And remaining in position was key to the victory that God ordained over the situation.
So when your calling gets exhausting, notice what help and support you have around you. Are you using the help to remain in the position of victory? Or are you relying on your own efforts to hold your arms up through this long journey? Evaluate the support you have around you, and make use of it as much as you can, so that your calling won’t get exhausting.