May3WedMay 3, 2017
The nights just got shorter at our house. Just a few days ago, we began to transition our toddlers from cribs to beds. Of course, this means that they can leave their bed (and room) whenever they want. Thus far, the night routine has been rough and the morning cries have begun much earlier. My wife and I are preparing ourselves for a few weeks of physical exhaustion. At least, we're hoping that the battle only lasts for a few weeks!
Physical exhaustion is something that we all face in various ways during various stages of life. However, we also face seasons of emotional exhaustion.
I faced my first season of this as pastor at FMC just a few weeks ago. There is a weight that lingers over me all of the time which comes from knowing and assessing the spiritual and emotional well-being of all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I get a front-row glimpse into the lives of many who are struggling with illness, loneliness, bitterness, addiction, hardship, financial difficulty, fragile marriages and more. (Yes, these are all within of our church). And yet, I can often do very little to ‘fix’ them. That is how the burden grows.
Now I don’t share this in order to gain your empathy. Because, you see, this is kind of weight doesn’t just apply to pastors, but to anyone who has a deep love for the well-being of others (teachers, social workers, physicians, compassionate Christians, etc.) There can be moments when such burden can begin to crush the caregiver. Emotionally, they are maxed out. If you care deeply for people, it is likely that you also have experienced what I experienced.
Yet all of that is nothing in comparison to what David faced. I can’t even imagine how David felt like as he began to feel both physically fatigued in his old age and emotionally exhausted by the lingering war with the Philistines and fracturing allegiances with his large kingdom.
However, in in the midst of his fatigue, David knew the value of casting his heavy burden before the Lord. For he prayed (or sang) “You are my lamp, O Lord and my God lightens my darkness. This God, his way is perfect…He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. Who is God, but the Lord? Who is a rock, except our God” (2 Sam 22:29,31-32)? What a beautiful prayer!
Often, our most precious encounters with the Lord do not happen when life is easy. They happen when we feel crushed and helpless…and we turn to Him. As my own burden grew in intensity, this is what I failed to do. I tried to busy myself with good tasks, phone calls and ministering to people. Finally, late in the week, I realized that I needed to linger in the sanctuary and cast my burden (and your burdens) upon the Lord. Jesus met me there with his beautiful promise, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). As I left, the weight had been lifted. The Prince of Peace was carrying it now.
How about you? Are you weary? Are you burdened? As seasons change and circumstances press hard upon you, do as the old hymn declares, “Take it to the Lord in prayer…Thou wilt find a solace there.” The Lord promises His rest and it is well worth seeking!