Excerpt from Psalm 31:9-16
"I am completely worn out. I am exhausted by sorrow…I am weak from all my troubles."
William C. Green
In his classic book of devotions, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, "Spiritual exhaustion never comes through sin, but only through service, and whether or not you are exhausted will depend on where you get your supplies…Has the way in which you have been serving God betrayed you into exhaustion? Go back to the foundation of your affections and recollect where the source of the power is."
Drawn by just causes and serving others we can fall out of touch with the power behind it all. Idealism and self-sacrifice are commendable, even necessary, but they're not sufficient. Evil and suffering can be overwhelming personally apart from the headlines. Broken relationships, violations of trust, inequitable treatment at work, or our own wrongdoing exceed our efforts to make things right. And so with broader issues in society at large. We wear out.
If we're to move ahead we need a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold. That's the way God's power reaches us. It can be unnoticeable because so close at hand—a commonplace epiphany. It happens when we're up-front about our need for someone else's help and companionship. Asking for help is also a good way to make friends. Who doesn't want to feel needed?
As if anticipating Easter the prophet Isaiah says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (40:31) "Those" who hope in God and not just in what they can do are more than just "me." You and I are not alone. We've got company. We can count on it.
Almighty God, may we grow closer to others so your Spirit can revive our own. Amen.
William C. Green is Vice-President for Strategy and Development, Moral Courage Project, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the author of 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving.