Sunday, March 11, 2018


TIRED, WEARY, FAINT—one definition doesn't fit all. There are nuances of difference in meaning. 

The classic passage in Isaiah chapter 40 expresses all of those words. I tried to mine gold out of each word with the help of a Hebrew-Greek Expository Dictionary, reliable old Webster, the Amplified Version Paraphrase and a comparative word study Concordance. Subtle shades of meaning shine forth to encourage our daily walk with the Lord.

We draw our strength from God whom this text makes clear never becomes weary or tired as we human creations do. Tired implies loss of energy, zip and vitality. We have used up our physical or mental reserves through arduous work, strain or continuous stress. We are depleted and feel drained. Our battery has lost its charge. Such feelings are common to mortal life so we shouldn't feel guilty about being tired.

Jesus became so tired that he could nap in a rocking, rolling boat in the middle of a storm while His disciples panicked in fear for their lives. He had exhausting days and was physically depleted in the human part of His nature. Tired is something that rest and sleep will cure. The three most faithful disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane from physical weakness.

After their return from the ministry of teaching and healing on which He had sent them, Jesus told His disciples they had to retreat to a quiet place to become restored. “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest,” was a remedial invitation extended to us as well. Tired is temporary and part of our temporal existence on Planet Earth.
Rest and sleep and good nourishment, as was the case with Elijah the prophet. He was exhausted mentally and physically after his confrontation and spiritual battle with the pagan prophets of Baal. God prescribed extended restful restoration at his point of need to get him back on his feet.

The Isaiah passage adds another layer over the feeling of tiredness—weariness. We who are in our calendar-challenged years find ourselves not only prone to tire more easily but also inclined to become weary. That isn't exclusive to the aging process; it also afflicts the young. “Even the vigorous young men grow weary and tired and stumble badly.” It is a condition of the flagging spirit. Weary is a protracted feeling not easily remedied, more inward and serious than being physically bushed or wiped out.

What can we become weary of? Well-doing. Weary of discharging responsibilities given us by the Lord. Weary of striving against sin. Weary of the length of the road. Weary of being under the chastening hand of God. Weary of persevering in prayer. 

Endurance, perseverance, faithfulness, determination, fidelity are what God wants us to express as an antidote to being weary. Since He promises to give His strength to us in our weariness, it is His desire for us as His disciples to “know how to sustain the weary one with a word,” (Isaiah 50:4).

Translations differ in the Isaiah 40 verses as to whether we will be able to “run and not get tired, to walk and not become weary” or vice versa. Sometimes a short sprint like a mile run makes us physically tired but the walking, the steady, long road plodding along with its daily routines may make us weary in our spirit. We are not left in doubt how to run. The writer of Hebrews twice encourages us to “run with endurance,” “so when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36 and 12:1).

Drawn-out weariness will lead to the even more serious condition of fainting. We don't want to go there. In Revelation 2:3, 4 Jesus praised the Church at Ephesus, “And you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.” Then follows the tragic “but.” “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Galatians 6:9 in the Amplified puts it all in perspective. I don't need any application pointed out to me beyond the Word of God itself speaking to my heart. Am I simply physically depleted? Perhaps I should sleep it off. Am I weary of well-doing? “Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”

No comments: