When You Are Weary
This article was originally published in the September 2013 Newsletter.
What do you do when you feel weary? We all get there at some point. Jobs wear us down, family issues pick away at our peace, or financial troubles squeeze both ends of the month like a vice. At some point, you become weary of it all. At that point, what do you do?
It may surprise you to know that I have to deal with being weary as well. I rarely speak about it except to my closest friends, but I do understand what it means to be weary.
Something changed in my mindset a couple of years ago. I really can’t tell you the day it happened, but at some point I started to become weary of being on the road, being gone for weeks at a time doing ministry. I’ve talked about it with my board members, seeking their counsel and advice. I’ve talked with pastor friends of mine, seeking their encouragement and wisdom. I’ve prayed about it countless times. Weariness. God help me. Please. There is a subtle pressure in being in a public ministry. It is possibly self-imposed, but it is there none the less, this expectation that I need to be “on” when I am with others, to be the encourager, to share my faith, to be the example. But sometimes, honestly, I get weary of it and just want to crawl away and hide.
So what do we do when we feel weary? For me, I take refuge in my relationship with God. The moment I realize I am becoming weary is the moment I pull back. I pull back from the work of ministry and focus simply on my relationship with God. It always comes back to the relationship with God. I spend more time talking with him than I normally would. I spend more time reading his word than I normally do. I focus on the relationship that matters most.
God is the strong one. I am the weak one. It is helpful to remember that. I am at my strongest when I understand how pitifully weak I really am. But God does not grow weary! He is strong beyond measure. The key then is to learn to wait on him. Consider what Isaiah wrote:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31, ESV, emphasis added).
It is a familiar passage to many of us, but please don’t miss the significance of what the prophet Isaiah wrote. Running ahead of God accomplishes nothing. It is those who have learned to wait for him who find the strength they need.
Why is it so difficult to wait? It is because we are prone to try and fix it on our own. We believe if we just work harder surely we can fix the situation. Our tendency is to focus on what we can do instead of focusing on what God can do. It seems so silly to just wait on God. But waiting on God is the key. The promise of strength is to those who are willing to wait.
Gratefully, Christ also gave us an example and encouragement to not grow weary. The writer of Hebrews wrote:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV, emphasis added).
When we understand how much Jesus loves us and how much he was willing to endure on our behalf, then we can focus on him in the midst of our trial. He has gone before us. He understands our weakness. He knows what it means to endure. We remind ourselves of these truths so that we may not grow weary.
Allow me to share with you one final verse that has been a great encouragement to me personally. It is from the writer of the book of Hebrews again.
“God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do” (Hebrews 6:10, ESV).
I’ve meditated on this verse countless times. I’m grateful God understands my humanity, my tendency to become weary in well doing. I’m humbled that he is “not so unjust as to overlook” the small sacrifices I’ve made that sometimes lead me to becoming weary. And I’m grateful that Jesus has set the example of what it means to give all for the sake of love. He is my friend, my companion, my love.
Perhaps you are reading this today and you can relate to the feeling of being weary. Maybe right now life is kicking you hard. I feel for you. I pray that you will be encouraged in your relationship with God. Find your refuge in him. Spend more time talking with him than you normally would. Tell him how you feel. Spend more time reading his word than you normally would. Wait on God. Focus on Jesus. Find your rest in him.
When you are weary, wait.