Coming Alongside

Coming Alongside

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Today I volunteered at my daughter’s high school cross country meet. My job was to stand at the finish line and after finishing the race, guide the runners to enter a “chute” where they would walk single file to receive their time. I stood and cheered like crazy for each one as they came in – “Awesome finish! Great Job! You made it!” – and then I gave them the instructions they needed to finish.

After running three miles in the blazing hot sun, over hills and through woods, and sprinting the last leg, the finish line was a welcome sight. Most were able to slow down and walk the chute to get their score. But there were others who stumbled, fell down, acted confused, and even threw up. They couldn’t make it on their own. They were so delirious they needed someone to come alongside of them and literally hold them up to the end. They were gross and sweaty and limping and no one cared – all that mattered was helping them reach the end.

It reminded me of times in my life where I have needed someone to come alongside me and hold me up in my struggle; people who checked on me, prayed with me, listened to me, and just let me know I’m not alone. They reminded me of truth and reassured me that they would be with me to the end. They weren’t bothered by my mess.

During one of my darkest times, I reached out to a few friends and asked them to pray. I admitted to them that I was weary and tired of praying the same prayer and didn’t even know how or what to pray for anymore. One of my friends told me she would step in and do the praying for me. She reminded me of the story in the Exodus 17 when God asked Moses to hold his hands up during a particular battle between the Israelites and their enemies. When he held his arms up, the Israelites started winning, and when he let his arms down, their enemies started winning.

God, thank you for faithful friends. Thank you for providing people who come alongside us and encourage us to finish. Maybe there is someone reading this who doesn’t have a friend to do this for them. Would You provide one for them Lord? And please strengthen us for the times when we need to be a good friend to someone else.

Eventually and understandably, he got so tired he couldn’t hold his hands up any longer, so his older brother and a friend each held up one of Moses’ arms until the Israelites won the battle. She told me she’d hold my arms up.

Who are the ones in your life who are holding up your arms, or coming alongside of you and helping you to the finish? Take a moment today to tell them what they mean to you, and to thank them for stepping in to help when you didn’t have the strength.

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