Breaking Down The Barriers

By Gill Elder

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of my life finding it hard to let people in past all my barriers – the ones I’ve intentionally put up and also the ones that I never meant to. It’s always been easy to let people in to a point and then something happens and my instinct tells me not to let someone in any further, to let up the prickles and hide in my tortoise shell. Over the past few years – God has softened my heart and I’ve realised that this is not how it’s meant to be….

I’m not supposed to hide who I am, God never asked me to. I don’t need to tackle life on my own, God never asked me to do that either.

Exodus 17:8-13 has to be one of my most favourite passages in the Bible and I have been thinking about it a lot recently…:

“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 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. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

This is a really small verse in the Bible, but in my head, it just means so much and has been a massive part of my journey so far. It’s got nothing to do with the fight, but everything to do with the actions.

Sometimes I think when we read verses in the Bible, our reaction is a bit like “aww that’s nice” and
then we sort of move onto the next one, without even realising the impact of what is said – I think this verse is probably one of those verses.

Have you ever tried to hold both your hands up for a long period of time? After reading this passage, I gave it a go and to be honest, I didn’t manage to keep my hands up for very long – pretty soon in, I gave up the ghost and I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I don’t know exactly how long Moses held up his hands for, but what I am sure of is that it was a lot longer than I had managed to hold mine up for… and while he was holding his hands up to God and keeping his eyes on him, remembering that it is God who is in control, Joshua and the army were winning the battle. The most incredible part of this passage for me is where it says : “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.” When Moses’ hands get tired and he just doesn’t have the strength to hold them up on his own anymore, Aaron and Hur are there to lift them for him, to keep his eyes focused on God and not only does that help Moses, but it also helps Joshua and the army to defeat the Amalekites.

Part of me wonders – does Moses let them in to the fact that he’s tired? Is there a sign or do they just know him well enough to know?

I used to think that is was a sign of weakness to ask for help, but the more I grow – the more I realise that it’s a sign of strength. God didn’t ask us to walk on our own – he gave us people to encourage us, to love us, to share with us, to challenge us.

The more I look back at things I’ve done and the choices that I’ve made, the more I realise that when I have let people in to walk with me in things that are going on, my choices have always been better and it’s been easier to keep my hands raised towards God because someone has been helping me to see him. In those moments, I have had people who have been a constant support and encouragement to me, who have helped me to keep keep my eyes fixed on what God is doing and ultimately, to keep winning the fight. They are most definitely my Aaron and my Hur… but who are yours?

Who are the people in your life, that when things get tough, will stand beside you and hold your hands up for you? Who are the people that you can tell absolutely anything to and know that they won’t judge you but they will continue to love you and to walk with you? Who are your Aaron and Hur?

But also, if you flip reverse all that. Who are you an Aaron and Hur for? Or who can you be an Aaron and Hur for?

I recently felt like I had a word from God about running the race: I saw a race happening before my eyes and people were at the starting line cheering on the runners and then I saw people at the end waiting to cheer the runners over the finishing line, but nobody had managed to get to the end. I felt like God said that it’s not enough just to cheer people on at the start and then wait for them to get to the end. It’s about cheering them on up every hill, every valley, every moment when things feel like they’re going okay and every moment when they’re not… but for people to keep cheering us on, we need to be real with them about where we are in the race.

The comforting thing is that we weren’t created to walk this journey alone, we’re not meant to just ‘cope’ by ourselves. We’re supposed to let people in through the barriers and help us to navigate through the things that we struggle with… and when we become Aarons and Hurs for others and allow them to do the same for us, then we can all hold each other’s hands up and win.



Gill is married to Ali and together they lead our Stonehaven site. They have a 5 month old little boy called Levi who is super cute! She’s desperate to see the love of God known in her community and to see people experiencing His grace and presence for the first time. She loves all things admin, reading and going for long walks as well as spending time with friends and family. She enjoys playing board and card games and is surprisingly good at them despite not always knowing what she’s doing – ligretto is hands down the firm fave!

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