To be honest, life has seemed quite heavy and wearisome lately.
I am surrounded by so much pain, brokenness, sickness, injustice, suffering and hurting. Sometimes it feels like too much to bear. Sometimes it’s too overwhelming. Sometimes I start to feel numb to it all.
How many more people must die without the Lord?
How many more kids must grow up in abusive homes?
How much longer must injustice seek to keep pushing down vulnerable people?
How many more precious girls must be taken advantage of at such young ages?
How much longer will people hurt one another?
How much longer will we prioritize our own comfort over the care for others?
How many more women must be trapped in abusive marriages not knowing how to escape?
How many more natural disasters will destroy so much?
How much longer must we endure?
My questions could go on forever as I consider not just the experiences of those close to me but those across the whole globe.
I second what the writer of Ecclesiastes feels as he writes, “everything is meaningless”.
“What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Ecclesiastes 1:1-9 NLT
Does what I do make any difference at all? Does what any of us do make a difference? Is all this striving simply useless?
I believe feeling like this is a normal part of our lives, because this world is broken and it’s not our home. We were made for more than what we experience in the here and now.
Yet, God saw it in his goodness to place us in the here and now. He decided that this is the day and age for our lives to be lived. He has a purpose for us in this world. Yes, He can accomplish His purposes without us, as He’s not dependent on us. BUT He chooses to include us. He chooses to use our weary selves to accomplish His purposes for His glory and for our good.
Paul’s words are like a salve for my weary soul.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
It is never a waste of time to share the gospel, even though many still die without hope in Him.
It’s not in vain to pray with someone in the hospital for healing, even if we don’t see that healing come in our lifetime.
It’s not useless to play a game, teach english, share a Bible story or just listen to a hurting child, even though you can’t change their home life.
It’s not in vain empowering someone to leave the cycle of poverty or help fight against the injustices that they face even though you’re powerless to make everything right.
It’s not wasted time to sit and listen to a young girl and her family as they face the aftermath of rape, even though you can’t take the pain away.
It’s not in vain to do good and share life even though there are so many that do the opposite.
It’s not a waste of energy to provide a safe place for an abused wife, even though you know she’ll just go back to the same situation.
It’s not in vain to clean up after a disaster even when another will most likely come.
Because nothing we do for the Lord is ever useless and HIS love and life flows through us even though we are weary and broken ourselves.Even though something feels vain, doesn’t mean that it is vain. God is at work even when we can’t see what He’s doing. Every phone call, text message, meal prepared, child helped, mourning friend listened to, prayer prayed, errand run, note written, care package sent, cup of coffee with a friend, child loved…
None of our words, actions or prayers are ever in vain – because He is orchestrating each one.
I think it’s important and powerful to live in this paradox. We can feel the weight, brokenness and uselessness of this life and yet believe that nothing we do for the Lord is ever useless.
Believing in God’s truth doesn’t change the very real feelings that we experience in this broken world, yet it gives us hope to keep going. Accepting and allowing ourselves to feel the difficult emotions this broken world affects in us doesn’t mean we don’t have faith in God, yet it allows us to join the whole earth as it cries out for Jesus’ return and complete healing. One doesn’t negate the other.
Be encouraged my fellow weary traveler, our work for the Lord is not in vain. March on confidently, even in your weariness, knowing that He is at work through you. He has chosen you for His good work and He will be faithful to sustain you.
We must take more time to sit, lament, process and feel the weight of the brokenness… and then, by His grace, we get up and keep going because what He’s called us to isn’t useless.
Living in the paradox with you,