Have there been times when you’ve been utterly stripped down to the most basic functions of life? Maybe it’s chronic illness, grief, an injury, a job hunt that’s taking longer than expected, a cross-country move, a family member’s diagnosis, a strained relationship, or depression that encumbers everything?
Life slows waaaay down, your ability wanes and your desire dissipates. You zombie through the basics: Wake. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat. Do the minimum to keep going, numbly moving forward. You are exhausted, and you wonder if this season will ever end.
I’ve been there, too, friend – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I’ve tried to pep talk my way out of these legitimate slumps – it doesn’t work. But this truth from God’s Word has recently given me a perspective shift:
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:14
This verse used to puzzle me – or at least, I didn’t fully understand it. If I’m so valuable to God, why do I need to be reminded of my humble beginnings? Isn’t that depressing? (Spoiler alert – it’s not, keep reading.)
God Knows Our Frame
There were several times during my health journey that I’ve been reduced to the absolute basics of living. I had zero resources. I could not eat except through an IV in my arm. I could not get out of bed. My frame was stripped to its most essential functions – breathe, sit up, walk – and even then I needed assistance. Nurses, my husband, family, helpers – they were all well aware of my weakened state and more than willing to help me.
So when we read in Psalm 103 that God created us from dust – it’s liberating! He remembers that we are not Him. We don’t need to prove our strength, our smarts, or our tenacity. When our resources are spent, we have a God with infinite resources.
He never sleeps or slumbers. Psalm 121
His mercies are new every morning. Lamen. 3:22-23
He owns the world He has made and everything in it. Psalm 24:1-2
His knowledge is far beyond ours. Psalm 139
He is the giver of good things. Luke 11:9-13; James 1:17
His understanding never tires. Isaiah 40:28-29
His compassion never fails. Psalm 103:13; Lamen. 3:22
His love drives out fear and never ends. 1 John 4:18; 1 Corin. 13:8
In gratitude, we can look to God to meet our needs, restore us, and draw us to Himself.
God’s Response to Our Weakness
When I am struggling, I believe that God is infinitely more patient with me than I can be with my own child. For me, when frustrations arise phrases like “What were you thinking?!” slip out. My seven-year-old’s face falls and he tries harder or feels defeated. Often, I’m convicted of my impatience and my faulty expectations of how I want my first grader to act like a mature adult. I apologize and my sweet boy forgives.
Do I really expect my child to respond “my way” when he doesn’t have the knowledge I do, plus a body and mind that are still maturing? Likewise, in knowing our frame, God doesn’t expect us to be Him; He desires us to come to Him. And what’s His response to our weakened body, spirit, or frame of mind?
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children. Psalm 103:17
Compassion and steadfast love, which here means “goodness, kindness.” When we are weak, God is kind and understanding. Isn’t that a relief?
God’s Offerings to the Weary
So what is our job when we’re weary – to slog through and survive? Nope. To passively expect God swoop in and take care of us? Not entirely. To sleep? Well, sometimes.
Even if our physical circumstances
can’t change, our posture can.
All of life in the physical world has spiritual implications. Even if our physical circumstances can’t change, our posture can. We can turn toward God or away from Him. These may be familiar verses to you, but important ones when our bodies are heavy with life and our minds cannot overcome the darkness:
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
The Holy Spirit
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
Come. Ask. Receive. Remember.
These verbs are for us. So when we’re in the messy middle with an unknown ending or simply moving through everyday life on fumes, we don’t have to be paralyzed from fear or weariness. And the Holy Spirit Himself interecedes for us when we simply don’t know what, or how, to pray!
Embrace the freedom in knowing “God made me! He knows my frame!” – and in that, seek His full-of-compassion rest, wisdom, and comfort.
A Prayer for the Weary
God, I’m in a really difficult season right now. I’m tired, I’m weary. I feel like I’m treading water and not moving forward. I don’t know what to do, but you do. Thank you for creating me, but also remembering that I am not meant to have all of the answers – because then I’d become self-sufficient and not rely on your strength. Thank you for your infinite compassion and kindness. For your gracious offer of rest and generous gift of wisdom. You came to give abundant and eternal life. Don’t let me waste even these lean times – help me to come to you in my weakness. Thank you, Father. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.