Words to the Weary
During a recent Sunday worship service, a congregation was singing the worship chorus that goes: "I exalt thee, oh Lord...” A mother of a 5-year-old girl glanced down and realized that her daughter was fervently singing, "I’m exhausted, oh Lord ..."
Barbara Brown Taylor – being exhausted
I do not mean to make an idol of health, but it does seem to me that at least some of us have made an idol of exhaustion. The only time we know we have done enough is when we are running on empty and when the ones we love most are the ones we see the least. When we lie down to sleep at night, we offer our full appointment calendars to God in lieu of prayer, believing that God—who is as busy as we are—will surely understand.
Hard work makes us tired, but not weary. We often say we feel a “good tired” – the kind of tired that comes from physical work. That kind of tired goes away after a good night’s sleep.
That’s not “weariness”
Weariness is an ailment of the SOUL not of the body.
Causes of Weariness
Threat of war (terrorism)
Weariness is feeling like life has drained out of us.
Four of these 5 vss tell us something about weariness (not in this order)
The strongest of people DO get weary and tired
40:30 Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted. The word translated in the Good News as “young people” is often used to refer to top-notch military men. Not military strategists who sat at home with maps. Not even just "everyday soldiers" -- But the tough guys – the Army Rangers, the Green Berets, the Navy Seals. They were the heroes, legends. When they walked by, people’s eye’s would get really big and they’d whisper, “He’s the guy that took out 50 of the enemy with his bare hands…”
But you know what? They still get weary
Because they’re as human as we are
Even the strongest and bravest of humans sometimes get weary.
The second thing we learn is that, even though the strongest of humans gets weary, God never gets weary
Sometimes we imagine that he does
Maybe not so much that he gets weary like, “Boy has this been a LONG day! I need a NAP!”
But how often I’ve heard (or even thought myself) – “Doesn’t God get SICK of me? Doesn’t he get TIRED of listening to me? I get sick and tired of me, surely God MUST, too!”
But God does not get weary; He does NOT get tired of hearing us. (Of course – if YOU get bored by your own prayers, it’s probably time to take stock of why that is!) God is always eager to hear the prayers of His children. Amazing as that may be, it’s true.
Third thing we learn, is that God gives [his] strength to those who are weary.
When we are at the end of our strength, the end of our rope, God offers us strength. Amazingly, it’s often not worth it to us! We keep running around, trying to fill our empty aching hearts and spirits, when God is offering us exactly what we need.
Quick review: we’ve learned 3 of 4 things this passage tells us about weariness:
ALL people get weary
God NEVER gets weary
God offers STRENGTH to the weary
The FOURTH thing this passage tells us is HOW we can receive that strength, that renewing, that LIFE that we so desperately need.
Good News 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.
We’re more used to hearing this verse in the King James:
KJV Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
NIV Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength
So we’ve got THREE words here: TRUST, WAIT, & HOPE
Which are we supposed to do? I mean, we only want to do ONE, because we’re already WEARY!!! We don’t want extra work here! The word used in Hebrew means “to wait” and “to hope.” WAITING & HOPING seemed like a funny combination to me. And then the Good News throw in the idea of “trusting” – although that’s not one of the meanings of this word at all – but the more I thought about these things, the more sense it made.
Let’s see if I can make it make sense to you, too.
I frequently order things online. It’s convenient, I can shop at odd hours, I can comparison shop, and I can find things that might be difficult to find in this area.
The other thing I like about ordering things – maybe the thing I like BEST – is that it means I’ll get fun things in the mail!
I LOVE getting fun things in the mail!
And I’m never QUITE sure when it’s going to come!
Sometimes they’ll promise a certain delivery date; sometimes you can actually track your package online and pretty much know what day it will arrive.
But there’s this wonderful anticipation!
I don’t know WHEN it’s coming, but I KNOW for sure that it’s on its way!
You know what that is?
It’s Hope, trust and Waiting – all rolled into one
I’m WAITING in HOPE, because I believe that my order will come
We often equate HOPE with WISHFUL THINKING
But my hope is NOT wishful thinking! It is quite reasonable. By placing an order with a reputable company, I have every reason to think that I will receive what I am hoping for; I will receive what I am waiting for. So even if it takes longer than I’d LIKE to wait, I still WAIT, I still HOPE, I still TRUST – All rolled into one!
Now say you see me standing on my front porch on a weekday around noon – kind of looking around, up & down the street, glancing at my watch. You say, “Whatcha doing there, Mary?”
And I say, “I’m waiting for a check for $10,000 to come in the mail!”
You say, “Wow! That’s great! Who’s sending you $10,000”
And I said, “I have no idea! But I’m hoping it’ll come today! So I’m waiting for the mailman!”
You would think I was an IDIOT!
And you would be RIGHT!
Because that’s wishful thinking, not hope – or not BIBLICAL hope. BIBLICAL HOPE always has a reasonable foundation. That is, there is a REASON for HOPE.
I have REASON to hope that a package will come in the mail if I’ve ordered it.
I have NO REASON to hope that someone will send me $10,000 out of the blue.
In that case, I would be WAITING & maybe even TRUSTING – but I would be doing so foolishly, because I had no BASIS for my HOPE.
And if I have a REASON for HOPE, then it only MAKES SENSE to WAIT for what I HOPE FOR
And that ATTITUDE of “WAITING + HOPE” is TRUST, it’s faith.
When I was waiting for the check, I had TRUST & WAITING – but I didn’t have HOPE in the biblical sense, because there was no real foundation; I had no reason to think that I would ever be receiving that 10 grand.
Well, what if you saw me on my porch about noon tomorrow and I’ve got a couple of pieces of mail in my hand and I’m just FUMING!
And – caring person that you are – you say, “What’s wrong Mary?”
And I shake my junk mail in your face and say, “THIS is all I got in the mail! I ordered a sweater from L. L. Bean yesterday – and those dirty rotten THIEVES RIPPED ME OFF! I’m going to report them to the Better Business Bureau! I’m going to call a lawyer! I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it any more!!!”
What MIGHT you say to me? Well, you might call the police and have them lock me up for all of our sakes!
But if you were brave enough, you’d probably say, “Mary! You’re being an idiot AGAIN! You just ordered it YESTERDAY!!! It’ll come! Just WAIT!!!”
You see, I had HOPE and TRUST – but I didn’t wait!
OK, I just gave you three examples of WAITING, HOPE & TRUST all working (or not working) together
The first was when I ordered something, so I had REASON to HOPE, I TRUSTED, I WAITED – and eventually I got what I had hoped for!
In the second case – the 10,000 check – I TRUSTED, I WAITED, but I had no REASON to hope!
In the third case – I DID had REASON to hope, and I TRUSTED & WAITED – but not long enough. I trusted, I had faith – but only about THIS much!
I’ve gone a long way around, but let’s see if we can use these things to get back to God’s Words to the weary
There are a lot of reasons to be tired.
If you’re tired because you don’t get enough sleep or don’t eat right or for any other reason – you need to deal with THAT!
But if you aren’t just tired of body, but you are WEARY of SPIRIT, then the only solution for you is to have God’s LIFE flowing through you.
And the only way to do that is to WAIT and to TRUST and to HOPE. Is this like waiting for a $10,000 check in the mail? No! Because we have a REASON for our HOPE
God’s Word has PROMISED it. We’re not just hoping maybe we’ll get lucky and God will give us new strength. It is ABSOLUTELY a SURE thing that He will give us that inner renewal we so desperately desire – IF we wait and hope and trust. But we can’t be like the person who says, “Lord, I need new strength.” But if it doesn’t just BAM ZAP them on the head that instant, they say God’s not worthy of trust or that
God doesn’t fulfill His promises. Because God’s Word is even more reliable than L. L. Bean’s Customer Service! But God does not always move as quickly as we want him to. He has His reasons, but we need to WAIT in HOPE and TRUST. If you listen to Larry Burkett, you’ve probably heard him say, “God is never late but seldom early.” The Solution to our weariness is to allow God’s life, and strength to flow back into us. And the only way to receive that is to WAIT and to HOPE and to TRUST. For me, waiting is the WORST!! I HATE TO WAIT!!! But we cannot receive if we will not wait. Unlike the mailman, God doesn’t deliver that REST for our souls unless we’re there. (He’s more like UPS – you have to SIGN for it!)
Sometimes that waiting means literally sitting in His presence and listening, reading the Scriptures – and just being QUIET.
There is an African Proverb that says, "Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down." ’m SO good at running around and SO terrible at making my heart sit down.
Maybe like me, you can even sit and wait without God’s help!
Christian author and speaker Jill Briscoe said:
We can worry or we can worship. Strangely enough, busy people find it a whole lot easier to worry than to worship.
Are you WEARY? Wait – Hope –Trust.
Have you already tried that and it’s not working?
Ok, then here’s what you do: Wait – Hope – Trust
Ok, I’ve still got one more suggestion:
Wait more – Hope more – Trust more.
God is faithful And if you will WAIT and HOPE and TRUST – he will renew your strength like the eagles’
You will run and not get tired
You will walk and not faint