Today I want to speak to those that are weary. I know so many people who have continually over-flowing plates filled with the hard stuff in life….chronically ill family members they must care for, special needs children, financial burdens, loved ones that are floundering and needing help, their own health issues, grieving over the loss of loved ones, starting over after divorce, searching for jobs and coming up empty-handed. The list is seemingly endless of the burdens that people carry. Few and far between are the people I know that aren’t dealing with multiple issues…and most have lived like this for an extended season in their lives. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. I call it being battle weary.
Being under constant stress keeps the “fight/flight” response constantly activated in the brain. After awhile, we don’t even remember what it’s like to live a life that isn’t constantly “putting out fires,” or placing unrelenting demands upon us. When this goes on for indefinite periods of time due to a loved one with an illness or disability, it can be discouraging when there is no relief on the horizon. I’ve been in those shoes and I know you just go into survival mode at times.
In Max Lucado’s book “Facing Your Giants” He shares some scripture from the book of 1 Samuel. The story is about David and his six hundred soldiers. They return from the Philistine war front to find utter devastation in Ziklag. A raiding band of Amalekites had swept down on the village, looted it, and taken the women and children hostage. David and his soldiers are weary from the battle they have just returned from. The men are angry and blaming David that they weren’t there to protect the women and children. David turns their anger into a righteous rally of pursuit to free their loved ones. Half way there, at the Brook of Besor, two hundred men say they are too tired to go on. Max Lucado asks the question, “How tired does a person have to be to abandon the hunt for his own family? The church has its quorum of such folks. Good people. Godly people. Only hours or years ago they marched with deep resolve. But now, fatigue consumes them. They’re exhausted. So beat-up and worn down that they can’t summon the strength to save their own flesh and blood. Old age has sucked their oxygen. Or maybe it was a deflating string of defeats. Divorce can leave you at the brook. Addiction can as well. Whatever the reason, the church has its share of people who just sit and rest.”
“The Church must decide what they’re going to do with people like David’s men. What did David do? He said to leave them. He took the rest of the men, they defeated the enemy, freed their loved ones and took the spoils of their victory. When it came time to split up the spoils, the four hundred didn’t want to share with the two hundred who were so tired they stayed behind. Here was David’s response. “Don’t do that after what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and given us the enemy who attacked us. Who will listen to what you say? The share will be the same for the one who stayed with the supplies as for the one who went into battle. All will share alike.” (30:23–24 NCV) “Note David’s words: they “stayed with the supplies,” as if this had been their job. They hadn’t asked to guard supplies; they wanted to rest. But David dignifies their decision to stay”. He showed compassion and mercy and honored the tired soldiers”.
Max goes on to say, “Someday, somebody will read what David did and name their church the Congregation at Brook Besor. Isn’t that what the church is intended to be? A place for soldiers to recover their strength? If you are listed among them, here is what you need to know: it’s okay to rest. Jesus is your David. He fights when you cannot. He goes where you cannot. He’s not angry if you sit. Did he not invite, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest” (Mark 6:31 MSG)?”
To the battle weary I say, hang in there. Do the best you can and leave the rest in God’s hands. Don’t worry about what others say, or if they judge you for what you don’t do. Unfortunately, there are still many, that if they haven’t walked in similar shoes, they have no wish to relate to what you’re going through. So, don’t let their judgement, based on ignorance, bring you down. Brush the dirt from your shoes, so to speak, and move on to the “truly important” things you have to deal with in your life. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 “come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest”. Recharge your battery at the feet of Jesus. I’ll finish this up with some last words from Max Lucado. ” Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired. Odds are, you’ll need to plop down yourself. And when you do, Brook Besor is a good story to know.”
Blessings to you,
Originally posted on 5/28/2010 on my blog,
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Karen Shoemaker says
This so hits home with me. We are the guardians of ten year old twins with issues, two grown children, one who has completely rejected our way of life and hurts me daily without knowing it, and blessedly, two wonderful grandchildren. I am always tired, always feel mostly alone, (have a good husband though who helps a lot), feels like the church doesn’t understand what our life is like, and doesn’t really want to. We don’t live the same life as most of our peers, we are in our fifties. They are all out doing mostly what they want, we are raising children again. Don’t take me wrong, I love the children, but it is lonely, difficult work. Thanks for sharing your article.