Matthew 11:28-30 NIV “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jeremiah 31:25 NIV “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God, your hope comes from him.”
I have known the feelings of exhaustion during various times in my life, but the time that stands out the most is during the period of time when my dad’s Alzheimer’s continued to worsen. He didn’t know his yard, his home, or even where his bedroom was. It was difficult for him to remember a simple direction. His health condition had altered his whole demeanor. He had become short-tempered and easily angered. He didn’t understand what was happening. I guess he may have been fearful inside but was unable to communicate that, so it all came out in frustration. He needed us to be loving and patient, helpful, yet allowing him to keep his dignity.
I was frequently running back and forth to my parents trying to be there for mom, so that she could get out of the house, and trying to help dad find some enjoyment in life. This was exhausting as I was working, I had a home to take care of, and a husband who was being neglected.
LORD, I NEED YOU!
Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. The Lord calls us to bring out weariness to Him and to find rest in Him. He tells us in Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…”
Whether you are physically, spiritually, mentally exhausted, or all three, your strength can be renewed. The Lord gives strength to the weary. He wants us to find our hope in HIm.
We live in a fallen world, our natural human strength gives out, but the Lord is able to meet us in that, He has an inexhaustible storehouse of resources at His fingertips. He knows that the pressures of life weigh heavy on us. Sometimes our burdens are too big to carry. We end up feeling as though we are ready to give up.
I screamed “I don’t want to do this anymore, it is too hard, it’s too much.” My tears fell. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through this time, but the Lord knew.
A number of years ago, a girlfriend and I attended a Dallas Holm’s concert at a church in a town about 25 miles from where we live. Dallas and his wife. Linda, sang and shared. The part of that amazing concert that sticks in my mind most, is not the beautiful music we heard, but something Dallas shared. He explained that at that time his wife was going through cancer. They had been crying out to the Lord, and one day as Linda prayed the Lord impressed on her heart Isaiah 45:3. “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” (KJV)
“Treasures of darkness” are the gifts of a loving God, who knows where you are and what you are going through. I would have written Dad’s story completely differently, editing out Dad’s disease and the torment of Alzheimer’s. I would have written his story so that it wouldn’t have ended with him in a nursing home. It wouldn’t have seemed so overwhelming and exhausting if I would have made his life plan.
But, I am not God, and I don’t have the powers to make life as I desire. Instead, I had to go through this rough journey with Dad, and it was difficult, and we didn’t know the way. But the Lord did give me “treasures” in the darkness of this difficult time. He taught me amazing truths about His love, and how to love others, about His wisdom and how He was at work. The darkness was a place I didn’t want to be, I wanted the easy comforts of life, where I could enjoy energy and relaxation. I didn’t want to live in stress, in fear, and feel so vulnerable to the unknown. I didn’t want to be running constantly trying to be available in so many ways. I didn’t want to see all of the pain, or feel it.
I must say, I didn’t see the Lord gifting me with these treasures during that time, I think I was too bleary-eyed. Sad and tired. But, now I look back, and I have to smile, my God was there holding me up, giving me strength. He helped me to feel His love for me, and He helped me demonstrate His love. He was there teaching me that I am not alone when I needed Him most. He was there teaching me that I couldl count on him, rely on Him, and depend on Him. He is trustworthy. He supported me and strengthened me to do what I needed to do. And above all, His name was glorified in it all.
Yes, I was exhausted, and I felt at the end of my rope. I cried hot tears, it wasn’t easy. But He gave me precious treasures that I can hold in my heart forever, and He showed me that He is my Eternal Hope and Strength for this life.
The Lord replenished my strength as I spent time with Dad. At times, I would catch a gleam in Dad’s eye when he found success at doing something. Or at other times he would tease me or laugh at something that amused him. My heart would be encouraged to find Dad, as I knew him, still in there. My dad had an amazing sense of humor.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 138:3 “As soon as I pray you answer me, you encourage me by giving me strength.” The Lord answers our prayers in ways that help us know Him more. If I had had the power to rewrite Dad’s life story, I would have missed out on some very beautiful treasures from the Lord, and now I can say that I am glad that the story was written the way it was. It was God’s way, and He always knows best. It wasn’t the easy or painless way, but it was the perfect way.
Lord, I need you! The song still brings me to tears as I remember, bittersweet memories. My heart prays that our exhaustion and desperation may always bring us to recognize our need for the Lord so that we can find the hope and strength He has for us.