I’m so tired. I’ve said this more than once during the last couple of months, and while I have been lacking in sleep (nothing new in our house), the words do not mean that I would like to take a long nap and then everything would be better. No, I believe that I have reached the end of myself several times since last January, and I don’t think I’m the only one. I have discovered my weakness, but I’m not sure that this is a bad thing. I think I have discovered something to be thankful for.
I’ve discovered that when my spirit is tired, I have less patience with others. This is bad.
I’ve discovered that when my spirit is tired, I hold tighter to my opinions, wrong or right. This is bad.
I’ve discovered that when my spirit is tired, I look for anything to sustain me for a minute longer. This is bad.
I’ve discovered that when my spirit is tired, nothing within myself will help me to carry on. This is good.
I’ve discovered the only thing to do when my spirit is tired is to turn to Jesus and say (or scream) “I don’t know what is happening, I don’t know what to do, and I cannot go one more step without you!” This is the best.
Knowing it is best to lean on Jesus, where do I look to find Jesus?
Charles Stanley recently said on his In Touch Ministries Radio minute (https://www.intouch.org/listen/todays-moment/the-catalog) that if you wanted to find out what was in the Sears warehouse back before you could go to the store, and before the internet, you would look in the Sears catalog. He went on to say that if you want to know what God has to say, you look in His catalog, the Bible.
So I went to God’s catalog to find what He had for me. Want to know what I found?
I found Biblical figure after figure struggling with their own tired spirit.
David spent much of his life seeking God when he was weary or struggling. The Psalms are full of his prayers to the Lord during the harshest times. I’m pretty sure (though the Bible says nothing of it) that he wasn’t hiding from a pandemic, but I kinda get where he was coming from, hiding in a cave from enemies who wanted him dead. Ok, I said kinda! I know that I really have no frame of reference for where David was in his actual life, but I know the man’s spiritual pain. I have often found his words encouraging when I am crying out to the same God for help. He very helpfully recorded the result of his cry here in Psalm 34.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”
So much hope is found in those words. I know that our God is one who answers, and delivers (even from my own fear). I look forward to being “radiant” as I look to my God. My face is radiant because my tired spirit has reached the realization that I never really held everything all together in the first place. It was always by the strength of my Great God and the Grace of Jesus Christ that I was able to do anything at all.
This last lesson, that my strength comes from only the Lord, I learned from Nehemiah. This man was given a huge task. He was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. There is so much symbolism in this rebuilding story, but one thing I would like you to take away (please, if you get the time study all that had to go into the return of Jerusalem in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah), what I want you to remember is here in Nehemiah 6.
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’”
It was that simple. There was no debating about where the strength to complete the task was going to come from. There was no considering all of the scary things the people around him were trying to say. He knew that they were trying to frighten him and all of his builders, he might have even felt that fear deep in his bones, but God would keep the fear from weakening their hands. God would ensure that the task would be completed. His tired spirit’s prayer was simple “Now strengthen my hands.”
I pray this week, for me and for you, that God would strengthen our hands to the task He has given us. I pray that He would make our faces radiant as we turn towards Him. I pray that He would awaken and strengthen our tired spirits.