Recharge Time

We are in the section of the scriptures where we encounter Jesus doing what Jesus does best: teaching, healing, and casting out demons. This was typical of his three-year ministry on earth. The activity, energy, and intensity of his ministry cannot be discounted. At times we can almost feel his weariness as he moved through a day.

Do you ever feel weary as you go about your routine? I would hazard a guess that we are all quite weary of this pandemic. It has added incredible layers of preparation to an ordinary day. The news of more deaths and more positive cases greets us upon awaking, as we put on the clothing of grief and despair. The need to take necessary precautions when we venture out feels like strapping a heavy weight of complexity to our shoulders as we make our way to the car. Do I have a mask? Hand sanitizer? Will it be crowded where I’m going? Will people stay 6 feet away from me? Will others wear their masks? Do I really need to be out today?

And of course the isolation we are experiencing is the worst of it all. Not being able to do our normal activities such as socializing with friends, being with family, attending church and community activities, eating out, watching a concert or a movie (remember concerts and movies?)….we are weary not only from what we have to do, but from what we can’t do right now.

Gosh, I am weary from writing that paragraph! Let’s turn to something more helpful.

What did Jesus do when he got weary?

Mark 1 ( Common English Bible)

Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law

29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew.30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once.31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.

In one brief paragraph, we see Jesus spending a long day of teaching in the synagogue and then immediately being called upon to raise up a friend’s mother from a serious illness.

By sunset, people were gathered at the door and presented all of their needs and issues. Some were sick. Some were demon-possessed. There were all kinds of diseases present. He healed them all, and then he had to keep the demons quiet.

Jesus’ ministry spreads

32 That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered near the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him.

As I read this, I have to say it doesn’t appear that our Lord got much rest. He began his healings and casting-out services at sunset for a WHOLE TOWN. Then he was up the next morning, well before sunrise.

35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. 

Let’s stop right there. In the exhaustion of his activity, Jesus didn’t hit the snooze button a few times (which is what I would do) and then sit with a cup of coffee (which is what I would need) and contemplate his day. No, he rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone to pray.

What would your day look like if you did that? Arose before dawn and went out to the beach, the mountain overlook, your back yard, your front porch, etc. and had nothing to do but just pray?

36 Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37 When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!”

We see that his time with his Father wasn’t very long. But his understanding that he needed to be about his father’s business was unwavering:

38 He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” 39 He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.

That is why I’ve come.

Why are you here? Are you letting your weariness get in the way of your mission? Are you feeling flat and unmotivated? Has sloth set in a little?

Jesus reminds us to take time to recharge in the presence of his father, and then get back on track. Praying in a quiet space and remembering what God has called you to do can be the beginning of a second wind when you begin to fade out. It worked for Jesus, and it will work for you, too.

Called to Prayer by Michelle Robertson

Growing Weary

Let’s go back to a time in your life when you were truly, utterly, exhausted. For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind is living with a newborn. There is no tired like post-pushing tired. I remember once waking up in the middle of the night to discover that I was standing up and leaning over my daughter’s crib. I had gotten up to soothe her, knowing that she was fed and dry. As I rubbed her back, I fell asleep in that position. I don’t know if I slept for 5 seconds or 5 minutes, but I don’t ever remember being that tired.

There are several variations of “tired.” We can grow weary of relationships. We can feel fatigued at the incessant opposition to our beliefs. We can become quickly exhausted by lack of sleep, lack of courtesy, lack of respect, lack of empathy, and especially lack of hope.

When this pandemic started, I likened it to a marathon, with the good news that every race has a prescribed course that is carefully marked out, and ends with a fixed and discernible finish line. Today I learned that there is something called the “Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race” that takes place in Queens, New York every year. It takes 52 days of running 6 a.m. to midnight to complete it. The average mileage is a little under 60 miles a day. Runners have six hours per day for eating, washing, foot care, and sleep. Just thinking about that makes me tired.

So let me revise my earlier analogy of the pandemic being like a marathon, because now we realize that it is more like a “Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race” and we have all become ultramarathoners.

But don’t miss the point…there is still a finish line at the end of this race, and every morning when we wake up, we are one day closer to the end.

Isaiah has some beautiful things to say about feeling faint, growing weary, being powerless, and where we can go to have our strength renewed:

Isaiah 40 (New Revised Standard Version)

Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.

How reassuring is this? We are not running this ultramarathon alone, but indeed, God is running right there with us. He is the everlasting God. HE does not faint or grow weary. And look what happens next:

29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.

In the battle of virtual school, virtual church, virtual family birthday parties, virtual work, and virtually everything, God gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. We need that NOW.

30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

Those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. They shall continue to run this crazy race and not be weary. The finish line is getting closer! Keep your head up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We truly are one day closer to the end of this thing.

Finish Line by Erin Gregory