Recently I have been running into a lot of people who are tired and worn out. They are so tired they have given up trying. The Scriptures refer to people like this as "weary". There is no energy, no desire, no effort, just existence. I've been there and it is a scary place. Unfortunately when you are weary you don't always realize how scary it is.
There is usually a reason why the person has become weary and it is never work related. There is a difference between being tired because of long hours at work and being weary because of some great emotional burden that we are carrying. Weariness usually sets in when we are focused on something that drains us emotionally and that we feel we have no power over. I don't want to be harsh about this but sometimes comforting such people only feeds their emotional dependency on that burden. The only way to deal with that burden is to let it go:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
This is such an important thing Jesus has promised us but we seldom fully understand or fully surrender our weariness creating burden. We pray, cry out for help, and even beg, but we aren't willing to let go. We say, "Take this from me Jesus" but fail to let go. We say "I don't know how to let go" because we fail to understand the second part of it. We fail to take his "yoke", his direction, his guidance. We fail to learn from him. We keep the focus on us, our pain, hurt, need or whatever else it is that prevents us from rising up.
What we have to do to allow Jesus to free us is to be willing to be loved and to love. Weary people have often let go of the willingness to be loved and the ability to love. They start wrapping themselves in a cocoon to save themselves from further hurts because when you are weary you lose that protective layer of love. But when we do this we are also shutting ourselves off from Jesus. We are no longer convinced we are loved and without that we struggle to love. Forgiveness goes running out the door so we pile on the hurts.
Here's the thing, without love life is not worth living, it loses all its value and purpose. You can go to church all you want, you can read your Bible days at a time, you can petition God for all kinds of things, but without love it is all meaningless and has no power. The Apostle Paul, the great man of the Spirit and of the Word, the man who opened up Asia Minor, Greece and Rome to Jesus, wrote these very important words, inspired by the Spirit:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
I don't care how many times you have read this, it remains powerful stuff. Without love, writes Paul, "I am nothing" and "I gain nothing". It doesn't matter how successful you are in the world, if you are not loved and you do not love, you are empty. When you are on your death bed your regrets will not be about not making a million dollars but about the lack of love in your life. Weary people cannot love because they have lost the knowledge that they are loved. You cannot love if you do not understand that you are loved. The Apostle John understood this:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
We can love because God first loved us. It is his love that is the source of all proper and healthy love, love that benefits others. If we cannot love it is because we are no longer convinced that we are loved unconditionally by God. God hasn't changed, we have. The Father has still sent his Son to die for us. Jesus still went to the cross for us because of love. These things don't change because of our weariness, it is us who have changed. The simple fact is, if we isolate ourselves from God we have isolated ourselves from the only power that allows us to love properly:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
It doesn't mean that if we try to live in our fabricated form of love we will gain God. It means that a life reliant on God's love and overflowing with that same sacrificial love is the best indicator of a healthy heart in a good relationship with God. It is a life where we know and rely on God's love for us. It is our fuel of existence, the motivator for everything we do. Without it "we are nothing" and "we gain nothing". Those who have become weary due to the burden or burdens they focus on, have cut themselves off from this love. So we go back to Jesus' invitation:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Those who are weary and burdened need to be brought back to health. Sometimes this can take a while but it always starts with this first step of surrender. It starts by saying "I have no power over this burden. I can't do a thing about it so Jesus, I give it to you. In surrendering it to you I believe that only you have the power over it. It will no longer be my focus but you will be. I surrender my life to you because I am convinced you love me thoroughly and have only good plans for me, to prosper my spirit and to build me up. Today, in my surrender, I take your yoke upon me because I want to learn to love as you have loved me."
I am sure you will make all kinds of excuses but until faith, hope and love are restored in you, your only desire will be to stand on the sidelines and watch life pass you by. You will give up on almost everything and what you do do will seem empty and without purpose. You probably have very legitimate excuses, from abandonment, to broken heart, to betrayal but don't allow those things done by other people to become your tomb stone. Jesus said:
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
That is what is offered to you by a God who has lavishly poured out on you his love and grace. Don't settle for anything less. Don't settle for an empty life sucked dry by anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Come alive again as you dance in God's great river of love. Let go of the pain and the burden, allow Jesus to take it, and you surrender yourself to his yoke, and learn from him. Come alive again and feel his breath beneath your wings. Take your place among the soaring eagles as he re-establishes you in his love. Be restored my friend and live this great gift in all its fullness. Be free.