As a mom, when my kids were younger they would often stretch their arms up to me from below asking in their own way for me to comfort them, love them, acknowledge them, and so on. There were often no words that went along with this, it was just a gesture to me of what they needed. I don’t believe they knew themselves knew what they were needing, but they had an innate understanding that if only they raised their arms to me whatever it was would be ok. This analogy can easily be used towards us as Christians reaching out to our heavenly Father. Not knowing what we need, but simply reaching out to Him for our own indescribable needs to be met. What if people in the world today asked us to help them, to carry them, to ‘lift their arms’? Would you answer that call?
In the book of Exodus, Moses stands upon a hill with the staff of God in his hand giving victory to the Israelites who were fighting below where he stood. As his arms began to tire he would lower them, which would have shifted the victory from the Israelites to their enemies, but two helpers came to steady him until their was victory, “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” (Exodus 17:12, ESV). Joshua and Hur were faithful in that moment to help and encourage the work Moses needed to do for the glory of God. There were no promises that they would be rewarded, and/or acknowledged for this victory. The same can be said about Titus, Tychicus, Onesimus, as well as others doing the work of a faithful helper in the New Testament. All of these men stood in the gap when they were needed and where there was need.
God needed to get us to a point of brokenness and weakness that we could do nothing, but pray and wait. So that’s what we do.
God has asked myself and my family to be the arm holders to those in need, to stand in the gap for the lost, and for the ministries, and missionaries needing helpers and encouragement. In a time when many churches are seeking to become more relevant, and ministries have forgotten the importance of being steadfast in prayer, the simple concept of coming alongside others has been overlooked. Somewhere along the way, churches have placed a greater emphasis on creating something new, planting a church, or beginning a new and exciting ministry, rather than sending out workers to help build up what is already going on in the world. The answer to the call to simply be available to help, sounds appealing and easy, but it takes brokenness, humility, faith, and obedience to willingly be that vessel.
As my family and I began to walk in the steps God had laid out for us, we could quickly see He was doing something very
different with us. He had us sell everything, move to a different state, buy a 42’ sailboat that we currently live on, and then…wait. These past few months have been the hardest months I have ever experienced. Giving up the comforts of a home, leaving friends, family, income, leaving everything normal grieved me. I first found comfort and excitement in what we were going to be doing. I imagined sailing into different areas of the world spending some time with different ministries there and then sailing off to the next one, and continuing this process until God told us to stop. This has not happened yet.
The reality is that we are a family of four, living on a sailboat in a marina finding ourselves being thankful for the very basic needs we had previously taken for granted e.g. fresh water (we now have a water maker), warm water, showers and toilets that work in the boat so we don’t have to trek up the dock to use the communal amenities, and the list goes on. We started out very idealistic, and God used that to get us to where He needed us, and where He could continue to shape and form us. God needed to get us to a point of brokenness and weakness that we could do nothing, but pray and wait. So that’s what we do. Through the prayer and the waiting there has been much discouragement, but through this discouragement has come contentment and joy as we know without a doubt we are where God wants us. We still don’t know what lies ahead, but right now we know that we have been asked to be the workers who hold up the arms of those in need.
Our journey may turn out completely different then we had imagined when we first started out, but that is ok. There were no mistakes made in where we are or how we got here. God guided us, and we followed. We may not understand the reasoning of some things, but it doesn’t matter, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV). We are simply willing and available. That is all it takes. Aaron didn’t have a grand plan of how he was going to hold up Moses’ arms, he saw the need and he did it. All of us who have the pleasure of calling on the Lord as our Father has the ability to come alongside another, to love them, to encourage them, and to care for them. Whether your ministry takes you across mountains or seas, or simply down the street to the homeless, hungry, or brokenhearted there will always be a need to fill.