I’m thankful for the arm raisers God has put in my life.
Sometimes life can be an outright battle. For most people, stress levels rise and fall like the ocean tide. One of the dangers of being a parent, friend, in work, school, or in ministry is that we can internally take on the stress of other people we encounter or serve, which then adds to the stress level in our own lives. ALL of us carry the burden of stress—I know this from personal experience. In addition to the pressures of life, Christ-followers must also remember that we are engaged in spiritual warfare against the enemy of our souls and the unseen forces he directs against God’s plan and our wellbeing. His end game is to kill, steal, and destroy, and he often uses discouragement, lies, and attacks to infiltrate our hearts, so we give up or give in. Even as we can confidently move forward in the strength of God through difficult times, we are also human and can become battle-weary.
I am serving in a vibrant and authentic church that is seeing many people come to life in Christ and serve him in remarkable ways. God is moving, and our church is growing—a lot. Because of this growth, we are moving to 4 services this fall, and are looking at some ministry possibilities that few—if any—of us could have imagined just a year ago. It is a privilege and honor to serve God as the worship pastor at a church that truly ‘gets it ‘regarding real, God- and outreach-focused lives. Even as I am excited about the call God has given me, at times the demands of ministry can feel overwhelming. As we grow, there are needs for more musicians and people to serve in many different roles each week. Add to this the challenges in the lives of our family and friends—many that live 1,600 miles away—and weariness creeps in.
So, I’m very thankful that I have some trusted people— my wife, sister, and brother, as well as some trusted people at my church— who are my ‘arm raisers.’
It’s comforting to know that many people in the Bible struggled with weariness. David wrote many psalms where he cried out to God for strength and deliverance in the middle of his battles. Even Moses had arm raisers that came alongside him and held him up as he stood in the gap for Israel during a famous battle. The story goes as follows:
One of the enemies of the Israelites, the Amalekites, came and attacked the Israelites. So Moses directed his army commander (and future successor) Joshua with the following words: “…pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry. Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning.”
Here’s the kicker and essential part of the account:
“When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way, Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory so that it will be remembered. “
Through the faithful and compassionate partnership of Aaron and Hur, Moses was able to complete what God asked Him to do—and Israel experienced the victory God brought to them. It’s important that God told Moses to write down what happened—I think God ordered this for our benefit as well as theirs! God knows that, at times, the battles we are engaged can make us feel tired and weary, so He sends people to come alongside us to lift us up to fulfill what God has called us to do.
So I’m thankful for the arm-raisers God has put in my life—particularly my wife Terese, my sister Terri, and my brother Tom— whom I can talk to and pray with when things get overwhelming. They have given me permission to call them when I am feeling the weight of ministry. They pray with me, encourage me, speak truth, and bring perspective into my life. I am also blessed to have some faithful prayer warriors at my church who lift me, my family, and my ministry up in prayer to God. They have prayed for our children and grandchildren, our ministry needs, and even the new recording I am working on.
Arm-raisers don’t try to take God’s place in what He is doing. Instead, they simply answer God’s call to pray, stand with, and support the one who is burdened. All of us need arm-raisers at various times in our life. By the way, God also calls us to be the faithful arm-raisers for someone else! But at all times we have a trustworthy, loving, and mighty God who is able to bring victory in and through our battles. He has the powerful arms that never grow weak or weary. This knowledge should bring us comfort and lead us to worship God, with words like this:
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens”
May you be an arm-raiser, and may God bless you with arm-raisers when you are in need.
God bless you!