A couple of Sundays ago, the first reading presented one of my favorite images in the Old Testament. The Israelites are fighting the Amalekites, and the battle is fierce and long. By some mystery, when Moses, the great prophet and leader of the Israelites, raises his hands, the Israelites win, but when he lowers his hands, they fail. And so, Moses must leave his hands raised. But Moses grows weary, and he must find help (Ex 17: 12-13). So God uses Aaron and Hur; they give Moses a place to rest (a rock to sit on), and they hold his hands up for him.
Are you weary, dear mother? Do you know that in order for your family to succeed, you must keep your hands raised? The schedule must be followed, the babies fed, the toddlers followed, the consciences formed. The folders must be signed, the car-lines driven, the dinners must be planned and made, the dishes done, the prayers prayed. Often, we feel like we are doing it alone because so much of what we do goes unseen, unnoticed, unthanked. And yet, God has inevitably placed people in our lives who hold up our hands when we are weary. How often do we deny people the privilege of answering the call of the Lord to give us help? How often do we miss the asking? It is true that sometimes we bear much of the responsibility and weight, particularly if we are in the season of very little ones who need our physical bodies in a real and taxing way. Often, however, we have our heads down with heavy hearts, and we do not see the stone placed beneath us to rest. I often sense the challenge of the Holy Spirit to raise my eyes to heaven and remember where my help comes from (Ps 121). Who has God placed in your life that lifts up your hands? For me, it is most often my husband, always ready to hold the weight of my heart for me, if I would only release it. Very often, it is my friends, my dear and like-minded community of sisters, who encourage my heart and love me through my faults, or who just laugh and share a glass of wine and let me vent. It can even be our children, who sense when we need an extra hug, or an unsolicited “thank you.” It can and should be the Eucharist, the actual broken body of our Savior, offered to heal our brokenness (even if you hear none of the Mass leading up to and following the Eucharist, because your arms are holding your children). No one understands our sacrifice and the heaviness of our burden the way Jesus does. He suffered all things first so that our suffering has meaning and purpose.
God has offered a resting place, but we must accept it. He sends people to raise our hands, but we must let them. If your heart is screaming, “I have no one to raise my hands! There is no rock for me to sit on!” cry out to the Lord. Tell him of the battle you feel that you are losing. I promise, dear sister, he will not let you lose. Your victory is secured; he longs to rescue his children. You are not alone, for the Father who loves you is with you.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all. He protects all his bones; not one of them will be broken (Ps 34:17-20).