when weary, keep going

Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.

Judges 8:4

Gideon and his three hundred arrived at the Jordan and crossed over. They were bone-tired but still pressing the pursuit.

Judges 8:4; MSG

First of all, we read these passages today, all for our profit in some way, but not all are prescribing or describing how we’re to live as followers of Jesus. Much that is recounted actually was not good even in its time. So we can’t use this passage to sanction un-Jesus-like activity, such as violence, even when considering it just. We do see in what follows that Gideon sought to provide needed food for the men with him. So that’s indeed a good takeaway for us. We need to take care of ourselves, not just let the candle burn on both ends until we burn out.

But a good point for us to take home here is that when we’re weary, bone-tired, we need to keep doing whatever it is we’re called to do, or fulfilling the sense of calling God has given us. Yet remember the needed rest and sustenance, especially directly from God, both physically and spiritually.

We want to keep at it full bore, giving it everything we have, of course not just working hard, but smart as they say nowadays. Putting our full heart and strength into it. Even when we are so tired.

Rest is essential. But I’m talking about those times and days when it’s not easy to keep going, or you think you’re reaching the end of your strength. Remember that in our weakness the Lord’s strength is somehow perfected. We want to depend on the Lord, and look to God for renewed strength. We need that inwardly and outwardly, both. God will provide. We will make it through in all our weakness and imperfection, as we seek to follow the Lord, and what we know is good, right and true. In and through Jesus.

inward versus outward

I think some might accuse me of some navel gazing in at least some of my posts. I can be taken up with inward struggles, anxiety being perhaps foremost among them. Actually I’ve come to see that I likely am an introvert. I tend to be inside myself, which I think can be both good, or bad, depending.

If we’re turned in on ourselves all the time, so that it’s about us and our struggles, or issues, then we’re not living the life God has called us to in Jesus. A life of community and mission. The Jesus Creed of loving God with all our being and doing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. We’re missing the boat.

But to deny inward occupation, as in searching one’s heart and asking God to do so. Praying and thinking. Being still so as to be open to God’s voice. That equally is in error. And by nature, some of what we do inwardly will get us out beyond ourselves. Even the struggle to get out of our inward struggles can drive us anew to God, at least to prayers.

I love those hours when I seem completely outside of myself, engaged in activities and works, not a personal care in the world. Quite a bit of the time though there is one inward tussling, or another. Thankfully not occupying my entire day, as a rule.

The important question is whether or not we’re turning it over to God. Endeavoring to live in obedience to God in community in Jesus, and in mission. That can seem, and probably look rather ugly, or clumsy to say the least, to us. But God sees it, and knows our honest endeavor, and desire, or even simply our plea for his grace. God answers. God is at work.

And so we go on, regardless of our inward disposition. Seeking to follow.