Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Who Holds Your Hands Up?
Last Sunday Rebekah and my niece, Ashley, ran a marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rebekah has run several halves but this was her first attempt to complete the 26.2 mile run. It was also the first time to actually put her body through that much distance. The training schedule builds up to 20 miles, but not the full amount until race day. I guess the thought process is either that if you run 26.2 miles in training you wouldn't actually show up on race day or if you are crazy enough to complete 20 miles in training you are sold out enough to see it through! There are several unknown factors in a run of this magnitude. Weather, course particulars, body reactions to the distance, and mental stamina, to name a few. My money was on Rebekah's mental stamina to conquer any problem she might encounter. She and Ashley both succeeded in crossing the finish line. Hooray, awesome job, I knew you could do it!!! But as in all challenges they both experienced tough moments. Rebekah began feeling some knee pain about the 19 mile marker and at the same time rounded a corner in the course where wind coming off the Arkansas river at 30 mph just added to her frustration. Juston had positioned himself to cheer her on and noticed she was struggling. To help her through this tough spot, he ran the next four miles in front of her to block the wind! Unlike Rebekah's rookie position, Ashley has run three previous marathons so experience was in her favor, right? Wrong! She fought feeling nauseated the whole run so no amount of history with marathons could benefit her. A bystander detected the signs of misery and started running with Ashley! She herself had someone rescue her in a race where it was obvious she was in trouble and pledged to pay it forward. She accompanied Ashley the remaining distance. After learning all the race details, I couldn't help but associate their situations with some events of my own. As time passes I become less independent and more dependent on others to help me with even the most simple tasks like cutting my food, spraying my cologne, opening my lipgloss, spraying my hair, or signing my name when I use my debit card. I have always invited help from family/friends when I could benefit from their experience or expertise. I am smart enough to position myself with the best to produce the best! But ALS places me in a category I never expected, not for many more years if ever. I remembered a situation with Moses after he had led the children of Israel out of Egypt away from the slavery Pharoah placed on them. But although they had experienced deliverance it didn't mean they had easy street ahead. In Exodus 17, they were in a situation of battle where Moses sent Joshua to lead the way while he positioned himself to support their efforts with the staff of God lifted high. As long as Moses maintained that posture, Joshuah and his men prevailed in battle. But as time passed and Moses became tired he lowered his staff/hands, and the enemy prevailed. Aaron and Hur had accompanied Moses to the top of the hill. Now here comes the the main point so don't miss it! Aaron and Hur saw that Moses had grown weary and placed him on a stone so he could rest while they held up his hands! They steadied Moses' hands upward until sundown and Joshua overwhelmed Amalek with the sword in battle. There are some great life lessons here. First, Moses didn't attempt to enter battle out of his own strength, but knew he needed to move with God's help. Secondly, he implored the right men to assist him. Third, he gave honor to God at the end of a successful battle. Obviosly we all will need help sometimes. Some more than others but still the reality exists. Who will you have holding up your hands when that time arises in your life? When your marriage is shaky, your child is struggling in school or with friends, your company downsized and you didn't make the cut, your parents' health requires more time than you want to give, you are disappointed with your own health or lack of what you consider success, or life in general isn't falling in place like you imagined. I cant buthink where I would be without constant willingness from family/friends to help in any way during this crisis in my life! Daily someone is holding up my hands as well as Jeff and our children. On this Thanksgiving Day I can't help but recognize and be thankful for the blessings relationship provides! It is a scary future with this disease, but praise God I trust we will not face it alone. Moses built an alter to signify the victory and named it, " the Lord is my banner. " May we all move forward in our life challenges with the support of others while honoring God through the process! Happy Thanksgiving!