Thursday, October 6, 2016

Winning the War Over Weariness

Eagles, depicted in this statue at Lookout Mountain's Rock City,
soar above the chaos below them and are magnificent to behold.
Have you ever felt weary? Not just the kind of tired that’s dispelled by a night’s sleep, but a deep, inner weariness that lingers even after a brief nap, long weekend, or relaxing vacation?

Most of us have probably experienced this at some point in our lives. Maybe you’re there right now. One of my favorite Bible verses acknowledges this: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). So weariness obviously isn’t a new phenomenon.

Causes of weariness are many. Here are just several examples: The seemingly unending Presidential race and its continual haranguing, demeaning and posturing. The ever-present threat of terrorism and where it might manifest itself next. Civil and racial strife that’s escalated at an alarmingly rate. Relentless bickering over controversies both large and small. Continual gloom and doom reporting by the media, with little being offered to encourage or uplift. It seems our dear old USA has become a “dry and weary land” all of its own.

Then there are the burdensome everyday issues of life we confront that are so…daily. It might just be the weight of day to day household chores that never go away – get them done today, and tomorrow you have to do them all over again. The joys of parenthood tempered by the worries and frustrations of raising kids in the 21st century and hoping they’ll turn out all right. Going to work every day, trying to earn a livelihood but never seeming to get ahead. As someone has said, “The harder I try and the faster I go, the behinder I get.”

Even doing good things, the right things, can become wearisome. It’s become commonplace to hear of a respected public official, popular entertainer or prominent CEO resigning under the weight of responsibility and expectations. Thousands of pastors leave the pulpit each year, worn down by the demands of their ministry.

When we find ourselves stranded in the state of Weary, we have several alternatives: We can quit, declaring we’re fed up, tired as all get-out, and won’t take it anymore. We can try going into denial, sucking it up and putting on the proverbial happy-face. We can grumble and complain to anyone who’ll listen. Or we can turn to the Lord, seeking strength from Him that we can’t muster on our own.

Jesus understood this well when He offered this assurance to His followers: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest(Matthew 11:28).

When we read this, it might be tempting in our moments of exasperation to respond, “Yeah, but You don’t understand, Jesus. You don’t know what I’m dealing with here.” Then we read this reminder that He does indeed understand:For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).

Every day people quit – marriages, jobs, projects, or passions they have fervently pursued – because results they had hoped for haven’t materialized. All that effort, they conclude with resignation, expended for nothing. Sadly, too often they quit when they’re only a day, or one more attempt, from realizing their dreams.

This is why the Scriptures admonish us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Another passage echoes that promise: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In other less sanctified terms, keep on keepin’ on!

So if weariness has become an unwelcome but constant companion in your life, consider this: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint(Isaiah 40:30-31). Are you ready to soar?

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