When you’ve had enough

I’m a fairly strong individual, generally resilient, awakening each morning prepared for the challenges of the day. But the maelstrom that is ‘life’ these days is wearing me down! It feels like a I am swimming against the current, trying to hang onto hope while each day brings another announcement of more bad news. Friends send word of serious ailments. A couple of months ago, I had my own experience of hospitalization and recovery. The economic reports are gloomy and it’s not just ‘out there’ in some other region. People I care for are losing their jobs, even their homes. The endless political strife that fills the media is wearing on my mind, causing me to wonder if my country has a future.

“Ah, Jerry,” you say, “you sound depressed.” No, I’m just tired from pulling against the current. And, I know I’m not the only one in this state of mind! Many disciples of Christ are telling me, “I do not know how much more I can stand. I have had enough.” Those who work hardest, who pour everything they have into building God’s church and serving His people can become burnt out. It’s an emotional state that we see in a prophet who gives it a name – the Elijah complex. Elijah valiantly stood for God, taking on the king, challenging false prophets, and praying for his people. The great spiritual conflict reached a peak at Mt. Carmel, where he had his famous encounter with 400 prophets of Baal. He built an altar and so did they. Then, each called on his god to send fire from Heaven. In the end, Elijah’s faith was vindicated, but the struggle left him worn out! The Bible sums up the story like this: “Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life.” (1 Kings 19:4, NLT) God ministered to the worn prophet with food to strengthen him, rest to refresh him, and renewal of faith in Divine providence! The Lord did not sideline the man, nor did He chide him for his complaint. He met him in his need.

That’s what all tired Christians can expect from their loving God! We need food for our souls, rest that allows us to recharge physically and emotionally, and renewal of our grasp of the promises of the Lord. He will provide those things for us, if we accept them from His hand. One of the reasons that we are commanded to take a day each week for worship, a day when we stop working, is because God knows we need rest. In that worship, we can find the strength to carry on. Then, too, we must know how to look up, waiting on the Lord. There is a kind of prayer that is silent, that is not wrestling with God for an answer, that is not focused on holding up another in need to Him. In the prayer of meditation, we simply wait for Him- filling our minds with a word from the Word – so that He can breathe new strength into our spirit.
When you’ve just had enough, when you feel like the very ground on which you stand is crumbling away, make a choice that seems counter-intuitive. Do less! Grow quiet. Wait! Here’s a word from the Word on which to meditate in such times.

“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.


For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NIV)

_______________

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lifts me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and fear

I will sing – sing a new song
I will sing – sing a new song
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long? How long? How long?
How long to sing this song?

Oh Lord I wait, I wait on You
And I will sing, I’ll sing this song
Oh Lord I wait, I wait on You
And I will sing, I’ll sing this song

(from the 40th Psalm)

Forty (40)
Paul Hewson, Larry Mullen
CCLI License No. 810055

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