Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Growing Weary in Well Doing

After months of silence, a short meditation.

The preacher warned us that one day we might be challenged to deny our faith
at the end of a gun. My overactive imagination convinced me that the threat
of persecution and imprisonment for Christians was only days or months away.
Could I stand the pressure? Would I deny the Lord when faced with the threat
of torture or death?

Over time, I’ve come to think that there is far greater threat for free and
persecuted Christians alike, then the threat of denial under duress. From
the fiery evangelist to the passionate prayer warrior to the faithful
disciple, believers of all temperaments and callings face the faith dulling,
life sapping threat of growing weary in well doing.

For the weary pilgrim, life becomes a repetition of disappointments and
frustrated longings. There’s nothing new under the sun. Every day is just
another day of the same. G.K. Chesterton once warned, “The world is
certainly not going to perish for lack of wonders, rather for lack of

When we grow weary in well doing, we lose confidence that the Spirit will
provide. We no longer trust and look for another proof of God’s favor in our

Weariness convinces the sojourner that there must be more. Another sign is
required. Another promise fulfilled. Unable to see the glory, the weary
person demands that God perform again and again and again. Like the
wandering Hebrews crossing the wilderness, each sign is soon forgotten and
another sign must come soon.

The miracle of breathing is not enough. The grace of food to eat is not
enough. The glory of loved one falls short. God must do spectacular things.
Like the Galatians, the weary person is in danger of falling from grace.

Unable to rest of the promise of the Spirit, the weary person begins to
trust in the works of the flesh. The cross is no longer enough. A new
technique is required, another touch is demanded, something beyond the cross
becomes the answer.

Once our focus moves beyond the cross, we begin to notice distinctions in
the body. Why is that person more blessed by God? Or I am closer to God than
those poor folks who only attend church once a week. Much like the
Corinthians, our gospel is no longer a gospel of God’s redeeming grace, but
a gospel of our gifts, our abilities, our vision and our plans.

Weariness will always move our focus from the goodness of God to our selves,
our needs, our abilities. This shift in focus steals our ability to see and
hear. Without eyes to see and ears to hear, our prayers sound more like the
Pharisees demanding a sign and less like the Savior offering thanksgiving
for the Father’s faithfulness.

One way to fight this tug of weariness on our soul is simply through
remembering. We remember the stories of the faith. The Father is faithful.
No boundaries can block his goodness. The border of Babylon did not stop the
power of His rule. Our sin and rejection could not alter His redeeming
power. The silence of death could not quiet His life-giving Word.

We don’t simply remember through thoughts but through actions. We remember
in the family feast, the communion table, the supper of our Lord. We
remember the body broken for us and the blood shed for us. In this meal of
memory, we celebrate His unflinching faithfulness. In our weakness, His
Spirit reminds us that even in our unfaithful weary wandering, His grace can
strengthen us to mount up with wings as eagles.