When Faith turns to Fatigue.
Sometimes I just get tired. If anything, the word journey better describes the walk with Christ more than a happy walk in the park. It gets hard at times. It gets fatiguing at times. A marathon, or maybe a triathlon, is more descriptive of what authentic Christianity is like, rather than a Caribbean cruise. Yes, I get tired sometimes. It is tiring to continue to pray for years and not see the results my heart longs for. It is just downright oppressive at times trying to calmly and lovingly speak toward Biblical righteousness in a culture that wholly embraces abortion, homosexual lifestyles, and philosophical relativity. It gets disheartening to see more and more people who wear the name of Christ in Western Europe and America drop Biblical morality like a bad losing streak in favor of liberal cultural and political correctness. It gets heavy arguing for truth when some, who speak of following Christ, but reject his words for the lies of Satan. The lies that go all the way back to the Garden where the serpent questioned; “Did God really say?” It also gets frustrating to see others of the Christian name put on legalistic self righteousness and flash it like a billboard expecting to earn their way into heaven. By their arrogance they not only damage their own souls, but likewise the lost lives of those who watch them. I can get tired when I think of all the times that I’ve shared the love of Christ with people who ignored the grace they so desperately need. It gets hard just doing life. It’s hard to keep the faith while being a husband and dad and wondering how my wife and kids will be provided for as I attempt another day of advancing the ball down the field. It is hard to keep the eyes of my heart on the big and eternal picture when the eyes of my head see those who reject God living what appears to be a successful lifestyle without a care in the world as they tread over the backs of those who love Jesus. It just gets hard sometimes.
Our journey is not alone though as many have walked this path before us. I’m reminded of Asaph from time who time who echoed these words during the reign of King David some 3000 years ago:
“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. . . When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”
Asaph was one of the leaders in David’s choirs who, like so many of us, knew the drain of trying to live for God in a world that would rather not. As Asaph meditated on the condition of the culture around him in Psalm 73, he honestly felt defeat and a bearer of a useless faith. Earlier in the psalm he spoke of his feet almost slipping as he envied the apparent success of those who opposed righteousness while he himself set and waited for God to show up. Asaph was in the journey just like us and it didn’t make much sense in his present tension. However, when he was able to take a step back and consider eternity, the curtains of his depression started to part as he saw the end of the game and God’s final juedgement. When he reminded himself of the larger and eternal picture he was able to turn the corner from spiritual fatigue to a renewed faith in the eternal God. Like Asaph, I too get really tired and wonder if it’s all worth it. Like Asaph, simply seeing the end of the story can be enough encouragement though to walk one more mile.
What do you do when you see none of the fruit for which you’ve been planting seed? What do you do when those you trusted in have abandoned you for greener pastures or even thrown you under the bus in the process? What do you do when you feel like you’re all alone in the journey? One of the best starting points in rebooting your faith is to again enter into the Sanctuary of God and remember the final destiny of it all. To the church in Galatia, Paul challenged some of the first Christ followers to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Earlier, Paul, in a crescendo of encouragement, reminded the Corinthians to “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Sometimes that’s all it takes to get back in the saddle again. Just a reminder, a simple reminder, that though the fight is tough and the road is long, there is victory for those who know Christ and the power of his resurrection. So be encouraged. The race is worth it, the victory is sure, and the reward is greater than you can imagine.