Some shakiness and weakness showed up in my right hand the other day. Immediately I began to think of diseases that might be the cause. Then I remembered that earlier I had been doing yard work involving repetitive motion with my right hand (using clippers, I think). With relief, I pegged the shakiness to an ordinary case of muscle fatigue. Once I understood the cause, I could smile at myself and carry on.
At this moment, most of us labor under some amount of fatigue. The shutdown has scrambled our routines and preoccupied our minds. The stress lodges in our bodies and tires out our brains. We find ourselves forgetting words, making multiple trips for things we forgot, having a hard time concentrating on our Scripture reading, and so forth. We may get irritated with ourselves for our lack of focus: “What’s my problem?” We may also experience more irritation at others and more pessimism about current events. Weariness makes every weight seem heavier.
Our Creator understands the vulnerabilities of our bodies. He does not blame us for physical weakness per se.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Ps. 103:13-14)
It is true that sin intertwines with our fatigue, seeking to capitalize on it. But God deals with both these problems. Our sins, he pardons for Christ’s sake. Our weaknesses, he will remedy on the resurrection day.
Remember too that Christ distinguishes between our sins and weaknesses. When Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray with him in the garden, they instead fell asleep, “for their eyes were very heavy.” Christ reproved their failure, but also reminded them that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38,40) What a Savior! At a moment of his disciples’ moral failure – for which he was about to go to the cross – he acknowledged that their physical weariness played a role.
This is why we can smile at our tired selves – because our Creator knows we get weary. Furthermore, whenever sin capitalizes on exhaustion, God pardons us when we ask in Jesus’ name. Let’s come to peace with the fact that in this season we will at times lose focus, struggle with sadness, and make mistakes at a higher rate than normal. But let’s not view ourselves, and others, with grim disappointment. That’s not the way our Father sees us. He pardons our sins and understands our weaknesses. Receive the grace of God! Smile at yourself and carry on.
Pastor Dan Clifford