Why am I weary?
The simple answer is Mark is on a business trip in Australia, China and Korea for three weeks.
Moreover, several days before he left our son Micah had heart surgery. We have had a year full of doctors appointments. My husband’s job is demanding. I am starting a business. We have three children under the age of six. We have a yard full of weeds and a house full of toys and laundry and life.
The simple answer is life. But this morning I read my friend Kelly’s blog about Mondays. In the blog, which I sort of read on my iphone while breastfeeding and drinking espresso, Kelly wrote about this verse:
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)
Normally I like to run. When I read this verse, I remember some of the best runs of my life. I remember running through vineyards in Switzerland, along dirt roads in Guatemala, across Lake Washington on a cold, sunny day. I am theoretically training for an olympic distance triathlon. But lately, when I run I grow weary. I am out of breath, struggling with exercise and allergy induced athsma.
So tonight, instead of running four or five miles, I’m blogging. I needed my inhaler just to get through this post. I am frustrated that my body is not working how I want it to. I want to be able to breathe. I don’t want my knees to hurt. I want to be able to run and not grow weary.
Why am I weary?
To dig a little deeper, I opened up my Bible to look at the causes of weariness. I found several examples of how weariness is caused by physical suffering:
- Weariness is a longing for rest (Job 3:17).
- Weariness is a response to unsatisfied thirst and hunger (Job 22:7).
- Weariness is a response to poverty (Job 31:16).
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)
Job is weary, however he is not weary as a result of just physical suffering. Job has lost everything and he is weary from sorrow. He uses the metaphor of physical suffering to illustrate the depth of his emotional and spiritual pain. David’s struggle in Psalm 119:28 is similar: “My soul is weary with sorrow.”
Digging even deeper, I came across Isaiah 46. Why are the people in Babylon weary? They are weary because they have created idols that are burdensome. Read with me:
1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
their idols are borne by beasts of burden.
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
a burden for the weary.
2 They stoop and bow down together;
unable to rescue the burden,
they themselves go off into captivity.
3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all you who remain of the house of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth.
4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
5 “To whom will you compare me or count me equal?
To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
6 Some pour out gold from their bags
and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
and they bow down and worship it.
7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
From that spot it cannot move.
Though one cries out to it, it does not answer;
it cannot save him from his troubles.
8 “Remember this, fix it in mind,
take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are far from righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my splendor to Israel.
How many times have I built something in my life into an idol? How often do I look to something other than God for a sense of identity or significance? How frequently do I give my time and treasure to worship stuff or people rather than God?
Did I not see that my idols would become a heavy burden?
Seriously at the end of the day, I often feel weary – but I don’t think it is because I am not doing the things God has asked me to do. I think I am weary because my proud, idolatrous heart wants to do more. I worship the things God has given me to do. I work exceedingly hard to do things well. But no matter how hard I work, I often feel like I failure because I do not do these things perfectly. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.
Looking again, the Isaiah verse is full of promises for rebellious, stubborn-hearted people like me.
God has carried me since my birth. He is the one who sustains me (even as I am plucking out my first gray hairs). I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. My idol can not save me from my troubles. I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. God is sovereign. He calls me to fulfill his purpose, not my own.
God is so gracious. Here I am running around to the point of exhaustion. I am wearing myself out for nothing. But God, like a gentle father, gives me two gifts I do not deserve:
First, God has given me Truth in his Word. God’s word – the Bible – sustains the weary and he wakes me up in the morning to hear from him.
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (Isaiah 50:4)
Second, God has given me Jesus. Jesus died for stubborn-hearted, rebellious idolaters like me. He made me his own. He promises to take away the burden of my idolatry and to give me rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)