Wearily, I sit in silence as the battle rages within. I shoulder the weight of the world, but the strength in my war-worn muscles fades. Hope for victory is vanishing. I feel as though I am slowly losing my sanity, my spirit, and my soul, as a voice calls out, “Give up; Give in; Give thy life-- the blood which flows within.” With tears streaming down my face and fists full of memories, present sufferings, and future unknowns, I cry out to God: “Lord, just take me now.”
Amidst the brokenness, the battle looks bleak.
We all suffer at some point in our life—unfortunately, it is the nature of our fallen world. My battle is with depression, anxiety, and PTSD; a three-headed monster that continually threatens to tear me from limb to limb.
Self-harm, PTSD spasms, and suicidal thoughts are an ever-present reality for me. They lurk in the shadows, trailing behind my every step. I am weary, worn, and tired of fighting. My arms, which carry my personal pain, have failed—It is a mirrored image of my dying heart.
Yet, I am not alone.
Such intense emotional and physical battles have claimed the lives of thousands in past centuries. But, how do we find victory, despite the overwhelming suffering?
In the Old Testament, the Amalekites waged war against the Israelites, as recorded in Ex. 17:8-16. Would this painful battle, too, take the lives of these inexperienced men? Despite the dreary outlook, the Lord was on their side: as long as Moses held up his arms with the staff, signaling the power and presence of God, the Israelites won the battle. However, when his arms lowered, the Israelites faced defeat. So, while the Israelites waged war against their enemies and the battle was strong, the Lord never abandoned His people.
But Moses’s arms grew weary; his soul became weakened. Even though he was holding the very symbol of God’s presence, his strength could not sustain the intensity of the battle: Moses grew tired of fighting.
Yet, all was not lost.
When Moses could not muster the energy to keep going, Aaron and Hur held up his arms until Moses’s “hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Ex. 17:12 ESV).
These two men surrounded Moses in his time of personal anguish to support and fight alongside him. When Moses, weary from the war, could not hold himself up, his brother and friend did so for him, and the Israelites won.
So, Moses built a memorial to God—naming it “The LORD is My Banner.” We all fight our own battles, yet we need not fight alone. We must find an Aaron and Hur to hold up our arms during times of intense turmoil; we must find support as we wage war against the enemy.
The physical, spiritual, and emotional enemies will continue to charge against us, and we cannot conquer the battles alone. But we have the most powerful weapon—the presence of the Lord.
However, when our arms become weary in shouldering the weight of the war, we need fellow brothers and sisters, a God-given secret weapon, who will continue to point our arms upward in victory.
To you who are “Moses,” keep going. Do not give up. Perhaps your greatest act of faith amid the trials is to simply keep breathing. Be still and know…you are not alone. Find someone you trust and reach out to them.
There may not be immediate victory and you may have to “hang in,” until the sun goes down. Go to God’s people and ask for help. Be vulnerable; Be honest; Be real, for the Lord is your Victorious Warrior, who so intensely loves you…He died, so He could spend an eternity in relationship with you. He sees your scars; He hears your cries; He goes before you in triumph.
To the “Aarons and Hurs,” hold up the broken. They need your compassionate support and love. Often times, the best you can do is simply initiate a deep and honest conversation and to merely listen to those in suffering.
Without judgement, ask them the hard questions, and be intentional with your listening. Be present for them in the midst of their battle. Do not make assumptions about how they are feeling, because they may not need the “Pray and read the Bible more,” or, “Submit it to God” response.
Lastly, remember that you cannot win the battle for them: You must be aware of your own position in combat and understand that you, too, need a support system.
Aaron had Hur had each other to help Moses. So, journey with the “Moses” on their path to healing, but be sure you are also caring for your own mental health and well-being.
In my own struggle, I am not alone. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, I hold the power of God in my arms, as I remain wrapped in His presence. When I’ve wanted to surrender to suicidal thoughts and the presence of my Savior was out of my reach, I’ve had the presence and power of companions who have walked beside me.
Yet again, He revealed His faithfulness. I am not alone.
I need a shoulder to lean on
A companion to wait until the break of dawn.
I need someone to be my strength,
To stay when all others are at length.
When I can carry on no longer,
I need your support, help me be stronger
Lift your head and walk when I cannot.
I need your strength, when I’ve spent all I’ve got.
My battle is not yet over. With my supports, I continue fighting. Despite the brokenness, there is beauty in arms of victory.
BIO: Alyssa Schock is originally from Tennessee and is currently studying at Moody Bible Institute in pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Evangelism and Discipleship with a minor in Women's Ministry. She is passionate about removing the taboo of mental illness within the church and desires to be a voice of truth in the midst of her own journey. You can connect with Alyssa on her blog here.