There are a number of ways we can grow weary. The most common and obvious is physical—if we exert ourselves hard enough for long enough, we will get tired. After we tire, we can keep going for a while, but eventually if we keep pressing we’ll get to a point where our reserves are exhausted and we collapse. But of course physical weariness isn’t the only kind.
There are many ways we can get worn down or worn out. The Bible actually has quite a lot to say about this, more than we can delve into here. I’ll just touch on a few passages, and encourage you to look further into it on your own.
David puts into words what many intensely feel:
This is depression, which can be utterly debilitating.
David expresses weariness of a different sort in Psalm 69:1-3,
Probably every one of us can identify with this. We are facing family crisis for example, or illness or death (our own or a loved one), or something else that is crushing us. We plead for help, and when there is no immediate answer we feel totally worn out.
Answers are also offered in scripture, such as:
I think it’s clear Isaiah is contrasting physical weariness (inevitable) with spiritual renewal (available) when we are flagging in our walk. There is an assurance here—but is it a guarantee? Isaiah says that the renewal comes to those who wait for the Lord. That wait can seem interminable. So is Isaiah’s assurance true? Jeremiah gives us a hint:
There is no guarantee that we won’t ever get to the point of weariness, of languishing; rather, there is a promise of ultimate release. The context of this verse tells us it’s about the Kingdom age.
Paul echoes this:
We would like the “due season” to be right now. But sometimes it isn’t. And notice that Paul’s counsel is to not get tired of doing good. In a world that is not noted for doing good, it is going to be a hard swim against the current. It’s easy to get worn out and want to quit.
Right now, many are noting that there’s quite a bit of “pandemic fatigue”, or other similar terms. We are tired of wearing masks, tired of being stuck at home, tired of restricted social activities. Many people are fed-up and are throwing off the constraints. Just another example of our human frailties, our proneness to grow weary, to give up.
We do indeed get worn out with trying to do good… what can we do?
The point, I guess, is that we acknowledge the proneness. Getting worn-out physically or fed-up socially are not the real issue. The real issue is spiritual. We do indeed get worn out with trying to do good, to cope with depression or tragedy, to handle the waiting. Our weariness can be very intense, way beyond simple impatience or frustration. What can we do?
As I said, there’s no thorough treatment of the question here, but I think one thing we can do is to take another look at what David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul and others have to say. Every one of them faced stuff at least as crushing as what we have in our lives, and they came through it. Not one of them would say it was easy.
Here’s what Paul says is the bottom line. It’s not a brush-off, not a pretense that there’s no real bone-deep weariness. He doesn’t evade the issue, he coaches perspective to get us through it without collapsing: