Timothy W. Massaro
Weariness and exhaustion in life are all too common. We go to work day after day, drive forty minutes plus, pick up the kids from soccer practice after work, drive home, make dinner, help with homework, and maybe live with someone we barely talk to (the list could go on), only to start it all again tomorrow. We can get to a point in life where we are almost on auto-pilot, going through a routine without much hope of something more.
Questions and doubts can easily flood our minds. Is this all that we were made for? Where did the joy of life go? How does this happen? What is this weariness in doing good? In The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton has his finger on our problem:
Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other good things in a society no longer work… when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless.
This quiet life of desperation describes too many of us. We don’t know what to do to shake the feeling. The world doesn’t seem to work. Nothing seems to help. We’re bored by all the things that once gave us joy.
Our Clue to Joy
A duty in doing what is right—without any sense of delight—often drives us. Fear and doubt gnaw at us from the back of the minds. We fear that what we do has no meaning and our lives have no purpose. We fear letting go. We fear receiving from others what we ourselves cannot provide. Yet, it is in such weariness that God calls out to us to give ourselves again to Jesus who gave all he had for our sake. This is the only way that we can again have joy.
Our clue to joy can be found in Jesus. In God’s Son, we find someone whose strength was spent to the last, whose work looked meaningless, and whose despair was the weight of the world (Heb. 5:8). Darkness descended upon him on the cross, but the strength of the Lord upheld him and did not let him see his work as empty or meaningless (Matt 27:45–46; Acts 2:22–27). He was willing to suffer the horrors of the cross—physical and psychological.
But why was Jesus willing to suffer like this? Why did he spend his days in such sorrow? The prophet Isaiah went so far as to call him, “The Man of Sorrows.”
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted (Isaiah 52:2-4).
Jesus willingly endured this great evil out of his great love for you and me. He endured it all, despising the shame, so we might share in God’s eternal joy forever (Heb. 12:2; John 3:16). That is what love does. It sees all things through hope. It looks upon shame and evil in this world with pity. This is how Jesus restores to us the joy of our salvation.
Let Us Not Grow Weary
Love looks upon us in meekness and joy for what will be, even though shame and despair often fill us. This love that God has for us clothes us with joy and removes that desperation from our hearts. God not only removes our guilt and shame. He brings new life to us even now. God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts.
Jesus brings a new way of life for us, one that has never existed before. This is our bright hope today. The joy that comes from the Lord and that is in the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). We can have joy even in our suffering. For what we do has meaning and value because of Jesus. Everyone we come into contact with is someone in need of this joy. Because we have been given that joy, we can now give it to others. God’s love overcomes our fears so that we can sacrificially give ourselves away.
Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:9–10).
The Joy of the Lord
God has moved heaven and earth to bring us to himself. He renews our joy by his presence and salvation, so that nothing can steal faith from our hearts. We do not need to grow weary but we can go out like a mighty eagle, tirelessly flying the skies with the wind of the gospel under our wings (Isa. 40:31).
In Jesus, who was raised from despair and death, we have become more than conquerors through his love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:37–39). That is why joy is the peculiar virtue of the Christian. We have a salvation that cannot be overcome by present distress or despair. Joy is that virtue which includes in its arms all the peculiarities, sins, follies, and beauties of life for it is the arms of resurrection.
All the tasks before us each day are God’s tools to help others in their journey to him. He feeds children through us and instructs them in goodness and joy through our sacrifices. God uses us to help all of our neighbors and our enemies. Goodness, joy, hope—these gifts are ours to give freely to others.
Our actions, therefore, have great significance. We can persevere in the midst of despair by looking to God and embracing the joy that he has for us even now. We can endure when we see how we are now God’s instruments of righteousness, helping others persevere in his love that he sheds abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
What we sow in the ground of this world—if it is by faith—has an eternal consequence (1 Cor. 15:58). This is why Paul can say to us “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”
With the great hymn, we can sing at the end of the day,
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
(“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”)