Bad tired, good tired

You and I have something in common.

I know that could be frightening, but let’s talk about something we both do a lot of.  We get tired.

From playing with friends and relatives as a child, to working long hours in heavy construction, the inevitable bottom of our batteries still reads the same. “Dead” (tired, that is).  But I have noticed that all weariness is not the same.  In fact, there are two kinds.

Bad tired. There is the no-nonsense, bone-weary, “black shadow under the eyes” kind that reveals a soul with no rest.   Even our sleep is fitful when we sink to this level.  And that’s when we need rest the most—the Bible talks about this (Proverbs 4:16; Matthew 11:28).

 Good tired. On the other hand, there is the gentle, certain weariness of a job well done.  We can lie down in confidence, and the sleep is sweet (Proverbs 3:24; Jer. 31:25).

It may take some of the sting out of life to remember that Jesus too, got tired.  He was walking through the cities of Galilee, healing and instructing His people (Matthew 8).  At war against the enemies of God, He soon drew a large army of followers. The love of God surged through this homeless Preacher, a current of hope to all.  His life spent within His one purpose, He felt the ultimate pressures of life on earth.  He felt the overload of being up all night, He endured the fatigue of many constant miles, and He spent His vitality on everyone who came near. Then there was the perpetual battle with a spiritual enemy dedicated to His destruction.  In short, He got tired, real tired.

But it was a good tired. He exchanged His meal for the spiritual feast of ministry in John 4:32 “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.”  He exchanged the restoration of slumber for the abiding energy of prayer throughout the night in Luke 6:12. When the ugly cross beckoned Him to Jerusalem, He walked humbly, “in the joy set before Him.”   And when the stone door sealed the darkness inside the Garden Tomb, He rested under the hush of an awestruck universe.  Resting in God is a good tired.  It is welcome weariness.

Bad Tired.  Inasmuch as the Bible is a tale of two cities (apologies to Dickens) the role of Babylon is forever cast as the willful enemy of Zion.  And Babylon is bad tired (Jeremiah 51). Our Father uses this city as a symbol of what not to do. Contrasted with Christ, Babylon offers selfishness, false worship, and monetary gain. In Babylon confusion reigns.  To people who are thirsty for truth, Babylon offers the wine of madness.  Those who drink it discover too late that they are drinking the wrath of God. No one seems to know what truth is anymore—if it feels good, go ahead and do it!  In Babylon everyone carries their own load of guilt.  They have faith in their own strategy and they ignore the commands of God. And it makes them tired – bad tired!

Consider Belshazzar.  He had everything he wanted in life (or so he thought). He had lots of wives, lots of girlfriends, lots of gods, lots of wine, and lots of pride.  Life was busy, and life was a party!  But he didn’t have a lot of rest and he didn’t have a lot of time.

Good Tired.  Throughout the long marathon of Christian history, those who choose Christ are motivated by His unconditional love. We come to the Lord exhausted with guilt. In Him we find true rest. His Spirit is the energy of grace in our lives and we begin walking where He walks.  As spiritual war rages around us, we are called daily to rest in Him.  There is legitimate labor in the Christian life, and like all labors it eventually brings fatigue.  Resting in the Lord’s labor is a good tired (Rev. 14:13). Sometimes it takes a while to find this rest.

Paul was weary with oppressing the people of Christ as he tried to stamp out the awful picture of Stephen’s restful faith.  And he didn’t like it — until he met Christ.  He became a new creature.  Tireless in his missionary enterprise to the Apostolic world, he almost seemed to welcome trouble at times.  He followed his forerunning ambition of the gospel the remainder of his life.  For him there was hardly time enough each day to satisfy the compelling need to share Christ.  In the end it got him killed. Admonished by the Spirit that his earthly journey was finished, he made his bed in Christ with assurance. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7). Resting in Jesus Christ is a peaceful place for tired people.

How is it with you my friend?  Are you weary? Are you tired of running to and fro?  Are you tired of the merry-go-round of busyness that our cultures impress upon us?  Are you tired of this sinful world? Are you tired of not loving others as Jesus does?  Are you weary of God’s correction? Are you weary of well doing?

“Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:7-9).

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