Support Group - May 2013

I have been volunteering for Inheritance of Hope for almost four years.  In those years of witnessing amazing moments, my eyes have been opened to the significance of support and encouragement.  I want to focus on the loving assistance that we volunteers strive to accomplish for these families living with a parent who has a life-threatening illness.

I do not take lightly

this privilege to serve these individuals.  As a volunteer, you become a support for burdened people throughout the Legacy Retreat® and even after.  While reading Exodus last year, I was struck by chapter 17, verses 8-15.  Here Israel is being led by Moses to Mount Sinai to receive the law.  On the way, the Amalekites attack the Israelites, and Moses places Joshua in charge of the army.  The day of the battle comes, and Moses goes on top of a hill with Aaron and Hur.  Something fascinating happens: when Moses’ hands are lifted high, Israel is winning the fight, but when his hands lower, the Amalekites succeed.  Verses 12-13 really jumped out at me:

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.

Wow!  What an amazingly wonderful passage revealing the significance of support.  Aaron and Hur are great models for any Inheritance of Hope volunteer.  Whether we are pushing wheelchairs, riding a rollercoaster with an excited child, or talking about the struggles a family member has with being sick, we strive to be support systems for the families.  Without the care of Moses’ brother and friend, the Amalekites may have defeated the Israelites.

This is not to say that as a volunteer we make everything better, but we want to be of help to families who are in a battle against sickness, whether that is by giving them a relaxing time or a listening ear.  We desire to ease their burdens through friendship and actual physical assistance, like we see in Exodus.  I am sure that Moses not only appreciated the physical help of maintaining steady hands but also enjoyed having moral support while the battle was raging.  I know that I am better able to aid these families because I have needed assistance from my own family and friends.  This life cannot be walked alone, and I would be lost without those who have held me up in trials.

Ultimately, this passage is symbolic of lifting hands in prayer and supplication to God.  As verse 16 says, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD.”  With an Inheritance of Hope retreat, so much prayer is done.  Without approaching our Heavenly Father, the Israelites would have failed.  Without prayer, no Legacy Retreat® would be successful.  This just further emphasizes the power and importance of prayer in our daily lives.

Even the men giving Moses a stone to sit on reminds me of the comfort and tenderness the Inheritance of Hope team gives all families in attendance.  If I wanted to paint a picture for someone of what it is like to volunteer, this account in Exodus 17 is what I would depict - ultimate victory through hardship because of help from people and God’s power.

Volunteering is a group activity.  I love how it took two people, Aaron and Hur, to assist Moses in this feat.  Without a group of volunteers, Legacy Retreats® would be impossible.  Working together lets us learn from one another and reveals that no one is greater than another.  We are all working toward the same goal - to care and support.

I would love to encourage any family timid about attending a retreat with this passage.  We are not perfect people, but we are willing to come beside you and be your Hur or Aaron during your battle with sickness and the other trials that come along with illness.  Inheritance of Hope embodies support and encouragement that can refresh only by the grace of God who values and loves when his people help one another.