Refreshment for the Weary Christian Soul
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
We live in a world that can tear us down and beat us up. At times the battle of life seems like an uphill fight and we become fatigued and feel like giving up. But there is hope! God’s Word has given the solution to overcoming weariness and finding strength and refreshment to live.
A Break from Work
The typical Western solution to weariness is found in taking vacations. “I need a vacation” is a common phrase I hear in the office and one I’ve muttered myself. Finding a break from work is a great start to overcoming weariness. In fact, God’s original work plan instructed humanity to take one day of rest for every six days of work. (Exodus 23:12) The Sabbath day is God’s on-going vacation plan for humanity to find rest each week.
Jesus corrected the understanding of his contemporaries who thought the Sabbath day was about keeping rules. Instead Jesus taught that the Sabbath was a day God had given to man for rest. (Mark 2:27) I have found that practicing the Sabbath day has been one of the best preventative means of avoiding weariness. Apart from church attendance and prayer, my Sabbath includes abstaining from the computer and e-mail for a day and taking a nap in the afternoon.
Even more practical than taking naps and taking time off, the Bible speaks about the importance of nutrition to overcoming a weary soul. When David and his people became weary, they nourished themselves with good, wholesome and healthy foods. (2 Samuel 17:27-29) Elijah is another perfect example, he fell asleep and an angel of the Lord woke him up twice instructing him to eat. (1 Kings 19:7). Now that’s my kind of angel!
While good food and rest are essential, the solution to weariness goes even deeper. Weariness is the feeling of being fatigued not only in our body, but in our mind, emotions and spirit. Therefore the remedy for overcoming weariness needs to meet the inner needs of our heart as much as rest for our body. No food or rest can solve the need for quality time spent with God.
Finding Time with God
God himself never becomes weary. He never tires or needs rest. “Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary?” (Isaiah 40:28) God is the everlasting source of strength and life. Spending time in God’s presence will recharge our internal battery. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
Jesus made a statement that would be outlandish for anyone other than God when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV) Taking time to come to Jesus and giving him our burdens will bring refreshment to the weariest of souls.
A Word from God
Spending time with God must also include time in God’s Word, the Bible. Nothing will refresh us more than a timely word in due season. A word in season can help encourage a person who is feeling weary to have hope. If you are weary, seek God for a word of encouragement and if you know others who are feeling weary, seek to encourage them. (Isaiah 50:4) A timely word from God is able to revive us, strengthen us, comfort us and give us joy. (Psalm 119:25, 28, 50, 107, Proverbs 12:25)
The Danger of Ignoring Your Weariness
Weariness should not be taken lightly. The feelings of weariness can make us sick of living and even desirous of death, just ask Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), Job (Job 3:16-17, 6:8,9, 10:1) or Jonah (Jonah 4:8) Weariness can also make us more vulnerable and susceptible to the enemy’s attacks which may come in the form of discouragement in our hearts or in the guise of a “good friend”. (1 Peter 5:8, Deuteronomy 25:18, Job 16:7, Job 22:7) We must be cautious of the company we surround ourselves with when we feel weary and find good friends who will lift us up and encourage us.
Don’t Give up!
If you are feeling weary today, find time to rest, eat well and get alone with God in prayer and in reading His word. Ignoring, or denying the feelings of weariness and plowing forward can be disastrous. Ultimately, we must determine to never quit doing good and serving the Lord knowing that the work we do is not in vain. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) (2 Thessalonians 3:13) If we do not give up or lose heart, there will come a day when our labors are rewarded and we get to hear the words of our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”