In 2001, HBO released one of the great mini-series’ ever produced for the television screen: Band of Brothers. The series chronicles the journey of the Soldiers of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during World War II. It begins with their rigorous training on Mt. Currahee in Toccoa, GA and ends with their capture of Hitler’s famous “Eagle’s Nest” in Berchtesgaden.
One scene that stands out vividly to me came about three-quarters of the way through the series. These men had been at war, without a break, for months and months. They were, for the time being at least, at a point where they not been shot at for some time. The company had been supplied with replacements, and one of these replacements – who had yet to experience the perils of combat – expressed his desire to be engaged in a firefight. Immediately, one of the Soldiers who had been present from day one, Frank Perconte, began to yell at the man and curse him for his desire. You see, Perconte had experienced more than his share of fighting and was probably experiencing what today would be labeled “battle fatigue”.
As Christians, we too can experience “battle fatigue”. We are called to serve others, just as Christ Himself came to serve rather than to be served (Matthew 20:28). I have seen many good brothers and sisters who are just simply physically and mentally drained from doing the Lord’s work and doing so while in the midst of otherwise already busy lives. What are we to do in those times? What would the Lord have us to do when we feel as if we have given everything and, quite frankly, feel sick and tired of serving other people?
I was comforted to discover, as I combed through Scripture this week looking for some wisdom from God’s Word on this subject, that our Lord has much to say about serving Him, serving others, and experiencing His rest in the midst of life’s fatigue.
When Paul had been slowly drained by some particular weakness, the Lord told him in II Corinthians 12:8-9 that His grace was sufficient for Paul, and that GOD’S power was made perfect in PAUL’S weakness.
When we feel fatigued from persistent and repeated prayers that are unanswered by the Lord, we are reminded of the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1, and that we ought to never lose heart in our prayers, knowing that they are heard by our Heavenly Father.
When we feel that all our labor is for naught, and that no one cares and that even in our toil we are making no difference in anyone’s life, Matthew 6:4 promises that our Father, who sees in secret, will reward us. HE sees us, and HE will reward us. There should be much comfort in that knowledge.
When life’s various pressures clamp down on us from all sides, and we feel that we are simply not going to make it out with our sanity intact, James 1:2-4 reminds us that the various trials of this world which test our faith produce patience, and that when patience has its perfect work in us, then will we truly understand the perfect sufficiency of Christ and lack nothing.
And, when we simply grow weary from the struggles of this world, may we hold on to the comforting words of Galatians 6:9-10 which tell us that we should “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
A great number of people these days are just plain TIRED. The world seems to be spinning faster, things don’t seem to get easier, and weariness seems to grow until it beats us into submission and we take our eyes off of the prize that serving Christ brings. Christ calls us to serve, but He also promises to give us REST in Him in the midst of serving (Matthew 11:28). If today you are heavy laden from your labor, reflect on the promises of Scripture for those who serve faithfully. Go to Christ and spend some time resting in His presence. Ask Christ to remind you of the reward that comes from Him and not from man. Don’t give up, Christian!
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.