Steady till Sunset
Steady till Sunset
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. (Ex 17:11-12 NIV)
As I read this scripture these words jumped out at me ‘STEADY TILL SUNSET.’
I have been on a journey of late that not many would want to travel. This journey involved great sacrifice. This journey involved my laying down of my life and taking up someone else’s.
What do I mean by that?
I have an absolutely beautiful, courageous friend who has just recently, in her eyes, lost a battle that she so badly wanted to see won. It was a battle that took her through some of the highest mountains and the lowest valleys and across some of the most treacherous terrain known to man. It took her through some of the brightest sunrises and the darkest nights. It cost her many hours of tears and gave her deeper battle wounds that could have destroyed even the greatest of warriors. Yet, she gathered up her weary heart, stood on her wobbly legs and held up her sword of Truth and returned, time after time, into the fray of wounded and broken people that seemed to surround her on all sides. Her story is not mine to tell but it did involve her losing her husband to cancer and her suddenly becoming a single parent to 3 children still requiring her focused attention and care and time consuming help to deal with their own grief. I often stood with her over the 13 years that they all lived with this battle on a daily raw basis. Days that were so graphic at times and so seemingly never ending that I would find myself silently crying out to the Lord requesting that He take this cup from her and from my God children. At times He would answer and we would see miracles occur that would take our breath away but more often than not we would see deterioration that would speak of helplessness on an ever increasing scale. Still my courageous friend would fight on and her faith in the Lord would increase alongside the attack of this relentless enemy. She would wade in knowing that the Lord was on her side and if He was on her side who could be against her?
You can't hurry this goodbye
The years passed and each new year would bring with it a different set of scary challenges. Life inevitably would carry on and she would inevitably go with life’s flow with daily devastating consequences. Until one day it was over…suddenly and without any tenderness. It was over in a brutal terrifying way and she felt totally and utterly devastated because she had believed for so long that her husband would be healed, because she believed that together with the Lord they would win this battle. Instead of ‘Death has no sting’ it was stinging her over and over and threatened to engulf her. There were some days earlier on that she saw the Lord’s beauty and felt His overwhelming love for her but most of the days that followed her loss were a struggle of increasing proportions. She felt so utterly alone and helpless and found that even her hope in the Lord was growing dim.
‘What was the reason for this Lord? Why didn’t You heal him? Why did You leave me here to cope as a single parent when it is obvious I cannot!’ All of these questions were whirling around in her head and with each question she cried out her heart would respond with an ache and a pain that tore her in two. Where were her Aaron and Hur? She felt utterly abandoned and couldn’t seem to see when this road she was travelling on would end. She wasn’t ready to receive God’s Truth. She wasn’t ready to truly understand that He was watching over every detail right down to the tiniest of blessings. She saw His hand helping her every day but she was not focusing on that, she was focusing on a lost battle and the despair and anger that she carried with her as a result of that loss.
The real truth is that actually she has won the biggest battle of her life thus far. The real truth is that she was and never would be alone. The real truth is that day after day the Lord came down and held her hand and sat with her and held her sobbing, crumpled body close to His heart as her grief blinded her. Then one day the Lord asked me to come and sit with her to add flesh to His Presence. To listen to her, to hold her, to show her physically, that she was not alone. I came from the other side of the world, leaving my own beloved husband and family to ensure she would have her arms raised up in this most crucial hour of the battle that as yet was not lost. It was now time for Aaron and Hur to hold up her hands so that they would remain steady till sunset. You see, the battle was still raging, she hadn’t noticed that because of the grief, the loss, the heartache. The battle continued on all around her but for this moment in time she was on the ground holding her lifeless husband in her arms, saying goodbye. This was exactly where she was meant to be, saying goodbye. No amount of well-meaning loving family and friends could hurry this goodbye. No amount of words saying ‘He is now with the Lord with no more pain and has great joy’ would comfort her or her children. This goodbye required patience, grace, love and as much time was necessary for the healing to come and for her to stand once again in the place of her calling. This goodbye required hands holding up arms and remaining steady till sunset. This goodbye required God’s love in the flesh close by just in case a hug was needed, a hand reached out for or a shoulder to cry on. This was God’s way of saying He loved her and her children with an everlasting love and He would never leave her nor forsake her.
My season with her is coming to an end, although our friendship is eternal. No matter where we are on earth we are linked because of Christ and will always be there for each other when it is needed. I know that one day she may well be my Aaron, my Hur.
For now though, in the short time we have left together, I pray that when I take away my hands from her arms that her arms will remain steady till sunset and the words of ‘The battle belongs to the Lord’ will ring loudly in her ears. I pray that she will once again hold her sword up high and run into the fray and tuck deep in her healed wounds the unconditional love that will always be with her and will always sustain her. You see it is not my sacrifice but Yeshua’s alone and it is His love that holds her arms up, steady till sunset.
All pictures are my own and are subject to copyright, thank you.
© 2014 J M Smith