I’m not talking about the kind of tired that comes from having five kids, including a 20 month old who still gets up in the middle of the night. I’m talking about the emotional exhaustion of raising kids in a crazy world, running a ministry, and keeping a strong marriage in the midst of it all. I’m tired from pushback where there shouldn’t be pushback. I’m tired of wrestling between living wrecklessly abandoned for God and striving after a safe, comfortable life.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength. - Isaiah 40:30
Maybe you’ve found yourself having a day or a season like I just described. It’s that part in your run where you hurt, you are tired, you have a long way to go and there is a real part of you that wants to quit and take the easy out. I’d be lying if I said that the draw of a comfortable life lived for myself wasn’t a real temptation. Giving up, compromising, and drawing back from the battle lines promises the comfort and ease I so desire.
But, what does it accomplish? What glory does God receive if I shrink back just because things get tough?
I’m learning that it’s during the seasons of pain and struggle that we grow. Your muscles get bigger as you work them. They may hurt, but they heal stronger than they were before. My kids wake up crying with achy legs because growing is not without pain. Yet, growing is necessary and our faith tends to grow as we are stretched and pushed beyond where we are comfortable. It grows during trials. I saw that in our long five year foster care journey. I’ve seen that in the daily challenges of motherhood. I’ve also read how God promises that in his Word.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. - 1 Peter 1:3-7
I believe we are often weak in our faith and struggling as a Church in America, not because we lack the availability of God’s Word, rather, we are so used to comfort and blessing that we run from the very trials that are meant to strengthen us, refine us and drive us towards spiritual maturity.
So what do we do? What can be done when you feel weak and the refining fire feels too hot to endure?
Stop striving in your own strength. 2 Corinthians calls us "jars of clay"; weak vessels with no strength to withstand any real trial. Yet, our brittle weakness reveals that our strength lies in our mighty God, not ourselves. If you are looking to yourself and your good qualities to help you persevere during challenging seasons, you will crumble. Let God’s strength be your power. Let the promises in his Word restore your might. Let the reminder of his salvation won for you lift your chin and steady your feeble arms.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
Take God’s Word to heart.
Consider trials a joy. Embrace them. Let them accomplish the work that God is doing in your life through them. Look for the ways he is glorified through them, and trust that your Father in heaven loves you enough to give his Son so that you could be his child.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. - Romans 5:1-5
Then, remember the eternal rest that is coming, the living hope that will never perish, spoil or fade.
We need rest and comfort, but that true rest comes after our race is completed. So, no matter how long the race is, God will sustain us until that day when we receive our inheritance.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. - 1 Peter 1:3-5
Until that day, there is work to be done. There are countless souls in need of the unshakable hope we hold as Christians. Don’t let the enemy keep you from the good things God is doing in the tiring seasons.
God’s got this.
It’s bigger than us.
Stay the course.
Fight the good fight.
Trust in the one who holds it all.
I’m in it with you! God’s got this sister!