There is a story about weariness that isn’t often remembered for weariness. It’s one that compels me with his compassion because he knows exhaustion — because in my most noble of efforts I am quite often tired. And the God of the Bible comes after us, and he shows us his interest that moves way past his comfort. I believe he calls us into this same place, because there is a rare sort of satisfaction when you have been approached with purpose and pushed past weariness. A place where you know that eternal things are in close proximity of your heart, and while weary you are treading on terrific terrain.
“Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. “ — John 4:6 (emphasis mine)
This is the beginning of the story about Jesus talking to the woman at the well. Not only was he alone, he was tired. On the edge of this town and on the brink of exhaustion… and in this moment he was approached. And what we see is that his weariness did not dissuade him from engaging. He did not use exhaustion as an excuse to sit this one out, because (as he explained to his disciples later) there was food to eat that they knew nothing about — there was a harvest that was ready to be reaped. When the woman walked up to him, he saw her for who she was, and he loved her enough to speak the truth and pursue her — even though he was tired. He offered strength when strength was needed, love where it was lacking, and wisdom to one hungry for it. His current conditions of comfort did not change his purpose.
And in this we are given a charge. For his example demonstrates a reckless love that trumps being tired. It shows us how to love well with the heart of another before our own. He calls us into a way and a walk that offers life in abundance — which cannot be defeated by weariness or usurped by temporary indulgences with wavering offers of relief. And we need to know that it can be done, because aren’t we often weary within our journeys? If you are a mom diligently raising tiny humans, you know this. If you are battling injustice, you know this. If you are battling addiction, you know this. If you are doing battle for truth to be seen, goodness to be called out and beauty to be revealed, in some shape or form, you know this. Life can be exhausting. But because this is not all there is, and because people are eternal, and because there is a real and true reward that will far outweigh all of the strength we spent on persevering… let’s push through weariness.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” — Galatians 6:9 (emphasis mine)
William Wilberforce championed the abolition of the slave trade… it took 20 years to see success. He was quite often discouraged. Quite often alone. And he faced severe opposition. And how grateful are we today that he pushed through? It mattered greatly to hundreds of thousands of lives that he did not hang up his hat and say “I’ve had enough.”
“The opposition that he and his small band faced was incomparable to anything we can think of in modern affairs. It was certainly unprecedented that anyone should endeavor, as if by their own strength and a bit of leverage, to tip over something about as large and substantial and deeply rooted as a mountain range.” –Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace
There will be a day when we wake up into the forevers that we chose. There will be a day when weariness will not be known, and the triumph of toiling will be something of the past. Burdens will be but a memory, and pain will be remembered alongside purpose. We’re not there yet. And so… this powerful place where we can rest in the refuge of a God who is capable of handling us— parallel to a place when we are running straightforwardly into strategic collisions with broken people bearing back-breaking boulders… push through. Never again beyond this life will we know a place where there is power in weakness and how good everlasting food tastes to one who is eternally hungry. We will be eating at his banqueting table and knowing intimately the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Until then… let’s push through weariness and love what’s lasting. And let’s do this well, with proximity to power that is more than we can muster by ourselves. We are often tired, but we are not alone.