Some time ago an experiment was conducted to measure people's capacity to endure pain. How long could a barefooted person stand in a bucket of ice water? It was discovered that when there was someone else present offering encouragement and support, the person standing in the ice water could tolerate pain twice as long as when no one else was present.1
Most people are aware of who Moses was—the leader of the ancient Israelites who, when leading this young nation out of slavery in Egypt, faced many a battle when conquering the Promised Land given to them by God. In one battle God told Moses that as long as he held his hands heavenward, God would give the Israelites victory over the enemy. If he lowered his hands, the enemy would gain the upper hand. You can imagine how exhausting this would have been for Moses. So, "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."2
What was true for Moses is also true for you and me. We all need encouragement and support. This is especially true when we are going through tough times; we need the support of loving friends to hold up our hands.
"Therefore," as God Word says, "encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."3
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a sensitive and understanding person and always ready to give a helping hand and word of encouragement to a loved one or friend in need of such. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John C. Maxwell, Encouragement Changes Everything, p. 25.
2. Exodus 17:12 (NIV).
3. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
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