Give Me A Break!

  • Randy Karlberg
man on hamac

I don’t know about you, but I am tired!  Now granted, it may have something to do with having multiple surgeries in eight months, but I am convinced that is not the only reason why I am tired.   I see this exhausted state on the faces of others who I come in contact with as well.  There is a heaviness to our world that is different than it was a couple of years ago.  And there does not seem to be a clear ending point.  Much of this is the weight of how Covid has impacted each of our lives personally.  I am sure that each of us has someone in our circle whose life has been severely impacted by this virus.  My prayer list is long with names of people who are working through the tragedies caused by Covid.  Nevertheless there is still a weighty burden that many of us are carrying that is not specifically related to this current medical reality. 

We are told to surrender our burdens up to the Lord and walk in the freedom He gives.  And that is very true!  I Peter 5: 6-7 instructs us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”  We focus on the being “exalted” part of verses like this, and simply breeze over the “proper time” aspect.  Yes we are to take on the yoke that the Lord gives us because it is much lighter than the load we bear alone!  Matthew 11:29-30 But I think there are two elements of surrendering over the weight that we bear that we need to recognize and work through in our minds as part of living a Christ honoring life here on this earth.  These elements are the actual surrendering or casting off of the burden and trusting that the Lord is dealing with it. 

It is one thing to say I am giving over a weighty burden to the Lord and it is another to truly surrender.  This action of giving a burden over is not easily accomplished.  I think the reason for this is sin.  Now there are a couple of different ways in which I see sin playing a role in this.  One would be trying to surrender the burden but never actually taking your hands off of the load you are surrendering.  You really want to give it to the Lord, but you can’t seem to pry your fingers open to release it.  The second sin I see is that we give it to Him, but we sit ready to take this burden back if the outcome is not what we had thought it should be.  This is surrendering, but with conditions.  If we are honest, that really is not surrendering at all!  We actually need God’s help to surrender things to Him!  We need God to help us release our grip on the burden. We also need God to help our mental capacities to really trust He has got this and has lessons to teach us through each challenging trial.  This is not easy stuff for us to do!  Through trials we see our propensity  to want things accomplished the way we want them accomplished.  It is hard for us to get out of the way and let God accomplish what He has planned through the challenges of life.  

I am convinced that this struggle is part of what it means to be human.  Each aspect of this struggle has its own degree of challenge.  I also see that this was a very real temptation which Jesus experienced during His time on earth as fully human.  Obviously Jesus dealt with aspects of surrendering when He was in the garden before His crucifixion.  He asked His Father to remove this burden from Him.  And then we are told He submits to the Father’s will and does not try to influence the Father’s will any longer.  It is because of this fact we can actually have Jesus take our burden upon Himself.  Because of Jesus surrendering His will, we are able to live in freedom from sin and death.  

While we understand the spiritual nature of Jesus surrendering His burden, it is important that we realize that Jesus became physically exhausted just as we do.  When you have stood up all day working, how do you feel when the end of the day arrives?  You are extremely tired and rightfully so.  Well Jesus spent many times all day teaching people and healing people.  He was continually dealing with crowds of people all wanting a piece of Him.  This affected Him physically! He would get exhausted and had to get sleep.  He even would not have the energy to eat food that He desperately needed because He was so fatigued.  Think about what we are told in Mark 4 regarding Jesus’ physical state.  He was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small boat with his disciples.  Such a great storm arose that the salty, seasoned fisherman were fearful that they were going to die due to the storm.  And I am sure you remember Jesus’ physical reaction to this storm was to be asleep in the stern of the boat!  He was so exhausted he could not stay awake even in the midst of a frightful storm.  We need to realize the fact that Jesus regularly got exhausted.  He needed a break physically as we do.  And yet He would push Himself to be used by His Heavenly Father even being overcome with fatigue.  

Now I am not saying we should push ourselves to this exhaustion level regularly in our lives.  My point is just to realize that Jesus often got down right fatigued because He was fully human as we are.  Part of living a life as a servant of Jesus Christ is realizing that there will be times of fatigue and heartache.  The challenge for us is to rightly respond to burdens God has for us to bear.  It is easier for me to deal with those when I remember that Jesus had these same burdens and even at a much greater level than we have.  It helps me to understand He has dealt with what we have to deal with in this life.  And when you need rest, make sure you get your rest at the feet of your Savior.