January 15, 2012

God’s solutions for fatigue

Fatigue happens to everyone. It is part of hard work, stress, battles with illness, all sorts of experiences. Everyone gets tired, but when we go without rest, fatigue can affect every part. For instance, I cannot do crossword puzzles when my body is weary; my mind shuts down also. For the most part, only a change of situation or a long rest can fix it. As my father used to say, eight hours sleep solves a host of problems.

However, there is another fix for fatigue. It is supernatural yet very real. This fix is applied to the inner part, the spirit and soul where God’s people connect with Him.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29–31)
Waiting on the Lord gives me a change of focus. Instead of thinking about myself and whatever is going on in my life, I am thinking about Him. And I cannot think about God without worship. All that I know about Him is good. He is powerful, loves me, and ready to give me all that I need for whatever situation I might be in. Those thoughts alone give me a boost in my weariness. Worship is part of waiting on God, and worship is rejuvenating.

Along with worship, when I think about God, I also talk to Him about my problems. In fact, His Word tells me how important this is.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4–7)
Can a joyful person feel worn out? Maybe, but when joy is present, any fatigue is not the same as being faint or exhausted. Joy comes when I think about the power of God and then offer to Him those things that weigh me down. Knowing He can take care of whatever is happening lifts my spirits. Faith and prayer are rejuvenating.

This passage also says I should pray with thanksgiving. Can a thankful heart be weary and worn out? Even when my body is spent, being thankful does more than guard my heart and mind; it makes me feel as if I can fly again. Gratitude is rejuvenating.

The inner part of me, my spirit, is also where my conscience is active. If I sin, I feel guilty. Guilt can produce fatigue just as much as hard labor. Perhaps this is why Jesus offers this invitation:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)
Being with Jesus and learning His ways keeps me from over-extending myself, yet weariness that comes from guilt also needs this soul –rest that Jesus talks about. If I am burdened with guilt, confession, repentance and forgiveness are also rejuvenating.

For the past few weeks, walking by faith not sight, and resting and waiting on the Lord have been constant themes. They seem to go together. As I look ahead to the coming year, I already see trials on the horizon and know that I will need to remember these truths for them --- as well as for daily, even ordinary challenges.

Lord, many times I feel totally spent, as if I am too tired to even breathe. Often it seems as if You are absent or out of earshot too, yet that is never true. You promise to never leave or forsake me. You promise to hear and answer my prayers, even give me extraordinary peace when I pray. You also promise to renew my strength as I wait on You, seeking Your will and Your direction. You forgive and remove the burden of sin and guilt. What more can I say? You are amazing and I worship You.

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