“Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-7)
When I was a child I never understood why the adults in my life were always so tired. Although I was not as active as some children, it seemed that I had never-ending reserves of energy, both physical & mental. Bedtime was torture to me because I was never tired and I would often stay awake until the sun came up, playing in my room or reading long after I had been instructed to go to bed. So when adults talked about how they were too tired, worn out, or just needed time to unwind for a bit, I simply didn’t get it.
At 35, I am still a young man but it is an undeniable fact that my limitless days are behind me. I’ve begun to realize that I cannot possibly do and experience everything I would like to do. Time, money, physical strength, and mental vigor are all limited resources that must be jealously guarded and wisely utilized. And there are times when no matter how careful I am, by the end of the day I feel like I’ve been running for three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours.
I get it now.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul was writing to a church that had been through a lot. He describes their situation as one of persecution, hardship, and injustice. But the awesome part is that the adversity they had faced had not worn them down and defeated them. On the contrary, their faith was flourishing, their love for each other was growing, and they were held up as examples of endurance and faithfulness. What an impressive report!
How were they able to do this? I can tell you it wasn’t by any human effort. We are capable of amazing feats of strength and endurance, but eventually we all reach our limit. Our bodies break down, our willpower fades, and determination falters.
The good news for us is that like the church of Thessalonica, God is there to provide us with rest. When we have pushed as far as we can go, God is waiting to give us some relief. He will supply times of refreshing and rejuvenation that will allow us to continue running your race with renewed strength.
In the Old Testament, we see how God was careful to provide rhythms of life by establishing regular sabbaths, festivals, and times of jubilee. He wanted his people to have times when they could rest and recharge. And when our lives are over and we have accomplished all that we have been put on this earth to do, he has promised us eternal rest with him in heaven.
If you are tired, stretched too far, or just worn slap out, I encourage you to ask God for some of that rest that he promised us and he will be faithful to sustain you. You don’t have to do it on your own, and when you are finished with your work, there’s a heavenly hammock waiting on the other side!
PRAYER: Father, I pray for all those who are sick, heartbroken and weary from the circumstances of their lives. I pray that your Holy Spirit would comfort them, and fill them with your strength and power. Help them to find rest and refreshment…physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.