Wednesday, January 20, 2010

EXHAUSTION


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP


EXHAUSTION

(Judges 8:4) ...exhausted but still in pursuit.

First you were tired. Then it was constant fatigue. Finally exhaustion set in. You became good for nothing. You knew it was coming. Keeping up that pace was bound to catch up with you. Then when the unexpected hit it pushed you over the edge. You then became edgy. But you were too tired to care. You function when you must but the rest of the time is a bust. You've got so much to do and it makes you more tired to even think about it. All you can think about is your bed...sleep...couch...movies...pajamas...candy bars...and all the above in Hawaii if you had the strength to get on a plane!

Our fast paced society has led many to exhaustion. Just think about it. The constant bombardment of responsibilities, schedules, appointments, and obligations. Then add on the tension of technology. Nice to have but messages are constantly coming in that you have to answer. There's no down time. No getting away for a breather. It's that constant sense of being "on." All the excitement of the fast paced life was fun at first and it can be thrilling to live on the wild side. But then it gets old quick and makes you want to check out. There's a constant underlying depression and sense of failure added to it due to feeling like you can never measure up to the demands.

The apostle Paul hit that place in his life. Listen to him describe it: (2 Cor 1:8-11) For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. Yes Paul, that seemingly indefatigable warrior for the Lord, became exhausted and even felt he was going to die!

But notice how Paul saw purpose in his exhaustion. He learned that when he is overwhelmed and exhausted he was not to trust in himself and his depleted resources. He was to trust in God who raises the dead. (He probably said that because he felt like he was as good as dead!) He then said that God was constantly delivering him. What confidence he had in the Lord even in his exhaustion! Then he got people to pray for him that he might continue on in his calling and that others would be blessed by his efforts. Paul was always looking up and out even when he felt like caving in.

Gideon and his men faced exhaustion in their pursuit of the Midianites (Judg 6-8). But I like how it says they were exhausted but still in pursuit. That means they didn't give up. They expected the Lord to come through for them so they could finish the task that had been assigned to them. (Isa 40:31) But those who wait on 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. As Gideon and his men kept on they became hungry. (Judg 8:5) Then he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted...” The bread is the Word of God (Deut 8:3) and is Jesus Himself (John 6:35). God's promises sustain us and Jesus will maintain us!

When you can rest...take it! But when you can't the Lord will be your rest. Somehow and in some way you will find the strength you need to carry on one more time for one more day...His way! Let's fight on!!

Louie