Weary. It is an old fashioned word. Not one we use a lot, but we feel it just the same. Restless, bored, overburdened, and so very tired. There is no rest that refreshes our weary bodies and souls.
Let’s face it, most of us have felt this way during different seasons of life.
As we approach the end of the year and look back at 2019 most of us have known some hard times. Sadly, some have suffered loss, experienced tragedy, or fell on hard times. Weariness sets in as we continue to try and deal with the difficulties we’ve encountered and the subsequent pain.
Additionally, the holiday season approaches, and this is a difficult time for many people. Shopping, wrapping, budgeting, dinners, parties, church activities, programs at church and school, etc.
Hallmark says it’s the best time of the year, but is it? There are high expectations and too much to do. Statistics show that many people are depressed and sad during the holidays.
No wonder we are weary.
WEARINESS IS ALSO AS OLD AS TIME
Don’t think for a minute that being weary is a modern feeling. It is an old-fashioned word and is common to humans since the beginning of time.
Moses certainly grew weary with the burdens of the stiff-necked Israelites.
“I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If you treat me like this, please kill me here and now – if I have found favor in Your sight – and to not let me see my wretchedness” (Numbers 11: 14-15)!
He sounds a bit weary to me. He is not the only one to wish for death to overcome his weary feelings.
Jeremiah, an OT prophet, wished that he died at birth and then later in the same chapter says don’t let me die young! Yes, he was weary and confused. (Jeremiah 15: 10 and 15) His responsibilities were a burden to him and he wanted out.
WHY ARE WE WEARY?
The Bible answers this question.
“We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing” (2 Corinthians 5:2 NLT).
There it is. This is not our home and we are not supposed to live in this fallen and depraved world. Yes, Eve is not only responsible for painful childbirth, but for our weariness too. I can’t wait to meet her in heaven and see what she has to say for herself!
It is kind of like vacations. We aren’t living our “real” lives and while fun, even exhilarating, at first it eventually becomes tiring. How many times have you heard people say,
“I need a vacation from my vacation.”
Travel itself causes weariness. I mean, don’t get me started on flying.
Cramped seating, TSA checks, FAA rules, and all the lines. Of course, if you travel by car you grow weary of sitting and getting to your destination can take forever. Getting lost is almost always a part of car travel; yes, even with GPS! Trains are bumpy and the bus is inconvenient.
So by the time we reach our destination, we are weary and often disappointed. The events or places aren’t nearly as mind-blowing as the ads promised.
Kind of like Eve, she listened to Satan’s advertisement about the apple and took a bite. Yes, it was deceptive advertising at its best.
Just like the apple, everything seems shiny and bright and first, but eventually, we grow weary of living out of a suitcase and long for the comforts of home.
Let’s face facts. This world is fallen and most of what it world offers isn’t healthy for us spiritually. There is something missing. The truth is we won’t be complete until we “go home” to Jesus.
Yes, we are weary, Lord.
EVEN JESUS WAS WEARY
First, we must realize that Jesus was fully human and divine and we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize and empathize with our humanness.
Like us, I believe He experienced weariness. Surely He wearied of the crowds constantly closing in on Him.
Many versions of the Bible use the word weary to describe how Jesus felt prior to meeting the woman at the well. (John 4:6)
How about the time when the disciples kept falling asleep instead of praying with Jesus. (Matthew 26: 36-46)
Jesus was preparing to take on the sins of the world and they couldn’t stay awake and pray with their Master? I can see Jesus shaking His head, weary of all of us and our uncaring and disobedient ways.
SO ARE WE TO ACCEPT BEING WEARY?
No. Jesus always overcame and accomplished His mission.
Mark 6: 32 – 34, tells us how Jesus left by boat to find a quiet place, but the people ran ahead along the shore to find Him. He took compassion on them because they were ‘sheep without a shepherd,’ so he taught them many things.
Despite his weariness, He was patient with the woman at the well helping her see the truth.
And when the disciples disappointed Him in the garden, He didn’t cancel the crucifixion and resurrection. Thank You, Jesus!
SO HOW DO WE OVERCOME WEARINESS?
When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He was talking to a weary group of people.
Subjects of the Roman Empire the Jews were oppressed and heavily taxed. Additionally, the people still lived under Jewish law that was expanded by the religious rulers, particularly the Pharisees. The people were required to make sacrifices and pay tithes and follow rules that were burdensome and complicated. Many were impoverished and in great debt.
There was a new guy in town who was different. They’d heard about miracles and talk of Him being the Messiah. Did Jesus have the answers? So the people came to hear Him speak in hopes that he had a remedy for their weary lives.
However, they were surprised at what they heard.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
You see the Jews waited on a Messiah to rescue them, but most were expecting a political leader, not a spiritual Savior. They thought the answer to their weariness was to overthrow the oppressive rule of Rome, but Jesus had a different way in mind.
Jesus told them to love their enemies and to be glad when they are persecuted; among other weird ideas that were contrary to logic.
At the same time, many were mesmerized. Jesus spoke with such authority and offered a new life that was different than anything they heard before.
I think we are the same. We read the Beatitudes and wonder how we can accept the life they describe, but something deep inside tells us what He says is true.
Yep, Jesus had the answers for the people attending the Sermon on the Mount, and He has answers for us today.
Breathe in His teaching as we look at some of the Beatitudes and how they can help us overcome our weariness.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV)
We must recognize that we are “poor in spirit.” Ok, no wonder we are weary. Being poor in spirit is a real bummer.
But it is true. Realizing our need for God is the first and necessary step to enter the kingdom of heaven.
“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word” (Isaiah 66:2b NLT).
Lift your weary heart by drawing closer to Jesus. He tells us to not worry about worldly matters. He takes care of nature and us and all that He created. “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12: 32).
This reminds me of the story when a woman complains of her weariness to Jesus. Her name is Martha and she is the sister of Mary and Lazarus. These siblings were good friends of Jesus and He often went to their home for some R & R.
The Mary and Martha Conflict
On this particular day, Martha is preparing a meal and is angry that her sister isn’t helping. Instead, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus absorbing all she can of His teachings. Martha, sure that Jesus would side with her, expressed her feelings and asked Jesus to make Mary help with dinner.
For those of us with siblings, this is a familiar scene. How many times have you tried to get a sibling into trouble?
But Jesus, says don’t be weary Martha. Sit at MY feet. Learn about Me and what is important. (Luke 10: 38-42)
Mary wasn’t weary, because when we are in the presence of God, you are uplifted. Martha was busy doing for Jesus rather than building a relationship with Him.
Like Martha, our weariness is often caused by what we think is important.
Staying in God’s word is a remedy for so many things because when the Word infiltrates our heart we are lifted up. I know when I am not in the Word my faith falters a bit – ok maybe a lot.
When we allow our minds to focus on the truth of Scripture we are confident of God’s goodness, sure of our salvation, and happy to know He is always there – now and in eternity.
With this great news in our hearts and minds, it is hard to be weary.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV).
Another admonition to recognize our own weakness. We must mourn over our sins in order to feel God’s comfort. If there is no regret or understanding of our wrongdoing then how can God help us become more Christ-like and closer to Him.
David learned this the hard way.
The Story of David and Bathsheba
I believe weariness started this whole escapade. (2 Samuel 11 and 12)
David’s men were at war, but the king decided to stay back for some reason. Often we are weary because we know that we aren’t where we are supposed to be. David went to his roof to look over the kingdom, probably because he was feeling restless.
What does he see from his roof? A beautiful woman. He found out who she was and knew she was married to a loyal soldier named Uriah. David must have been in a dark place; despite this knowledge, he had Bathsheba brought to him for a rendezvous. It appears that she was with him only one night.
Later Bathsheba sends a note to the palace. She is pregnant. So David brought Uriah home from war and encouraged him to spend time with his wife. Problem solved. Everyone will think the baby is Uriah’s child.
Now David grows weary with Uriah’s honor. Uriah wouldn’t go to his wife while the others were at war. So David did the only logical thing – he had Uriah killed. It took Nathan, a prophet, to make David recognize his horrible behavior.
Sin burdens our heart and causes us to be weary in our soul. Until David mourned and accepted the consequences of his sin of adultery and murder, his relationship with God could not be healed.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:9-10 NKJV).
David’s weariness opened him up to sin, which began a chain of events that included death and destruction but didn’t alleviate feeling weary. So if there is sin, confess it and accept the consequences. It will give you a clean slate and a healed relationship with God.
“Blessed are the merciful. for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NKJV).
Listen to this short video for Jesus’ description of mercy.
In the above video, Jesus was making the point that living by the law without love was not God’s intention.
Religious rituals and traditions are helpful in keeping us on course, but we can’t allow following the letter of the law to keep us from obeying the spirit of the law. In other words, it is more important to keep the law as the lawgiver intended.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6 NLT).
I wonder if these men challenging Jesus felt alive and close to God or weary and burdened with all the rules, regulations, and keeping up with the elites? They were certainly making the people weary trying to follow all the additional rules they added to God’s laws.
How often do religious rituals make you weary? While the Bible tells us that rituals can help us understand and follow God, it must be done with the right heart.
On the other hand, if the Samaritan had been a real person, and not an example in a parable, how do you think He would have felt after helping this man? Weary or refreshed?
HOW TO OVERCOME WEARINESS
Try the following ways to lift your weariness.
Suggestions to recognize you are poor in spirit:
Desensitization to wrongdoing is a major problem today because society is so blase about sin. Thus, Christians are also oblivious to transgressions that break God’s heart. When we are breaking God’s heart it is easy for weariness to set in.
Try to be more aware of your sin. Read the story of Zacchaeus: Luke 19: 1-10. Other Scriptures that help us recognize our sin include Luke 18: 9-14, Acts 3: 19-20, and 1 John 1: 9-10.
I know this is a tough one. Thinking about it makes me weary too, but if we ask, God will enlighten us to our sin, which is the first step to freedom.
Reading Psalm 91 can be helpful too. Absorb the words into your heart and know that you not only need God, but He is there to take care of you.
When we recognize our need for God and His willingness to meet that need, weariness may dissipate.
Suggestions to mourn your sins:
Ask God to open our minds and hearts regarding our sin, and take a week to be on the alert to our own sin.
Do we gossip, lack honesty, take God’s name in vain? How about sexual misconduct, jealousy, unrighteous anger, greed, lying, or revenge? While these are sins of commission, don’t forget about our sins of omission. Prayerlessness, ignoring our parents, spouse, or children, treating the Lord’s Day like any other, keeping silent instead of defending our faith, etc.
When God shows us our sins, write them down and pray over the list, seeking forgiveness in order to keep a healthy relationship with God.
Keep this log somewhere private, but review it. Looking at our sins in writing makes us aware of how sinful we are and can help us avoid committing the same sins again and again.
Another way to mourn our sin is to be prostrate before the Lord and pray Psalm 51.
Then there is mercy.
Sometimes I think of mercy as NT, but God showed mercy to His people in the OT too.
In the beginning, God showed mercy to Adam and Eve. He removed them from the garden because He didn’t want them to live forever in their sin.
Think about Lot’s family. Despite their lack of faith and lifestyle, God saved them from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19: 1-29)
When King Hezekiah knew he was dying he wasn’t ready and God allowed him fifteen more years. (2 Kings 20: 1-11)
Check out this article and discover some other acts of OT mercy.
You might also want to fervently pray Psalm 136 out loud with an authentic heart of love for God.
While it is easy to criticize the religious leaders in the Good Samaritan parable, perhaps we should pray about how we follow laws without love.
Do we go to church, but gossip about other members?
How about consistently doing daily devotions, but never share God’s message to prisoners?
Take communion regularly, but never visit a nursing home?
Do we talk about the church at work, but ruin our witness by our work style, excluding others, or coarse talk?
During the next week or two, find a person you usually ignore and be helpful in some way. Provide materially for them, include them, or provide a service.
Share what you did in the comment section of our next Christian Workout for 2019.
I Am Weary Lord is October’s Christian Workout. Sorry, I am a little late. For those of you who don’t know about our workouts, click here to learn more and find links to our previous workout blogs.
As always, comments are welcome.
Do you feel weary? If so, help others by sharing your story. Perhaps others can provide some suggestions that will help you overcome your weariness.
The last blog post was a prayer style quiz. Please share your prayer type in the comment section. I posted my prayer styles there!
If you didn’t take the quiz, check it out here. It’s a fun exercise.
Blessings until next time.