During my time in Kiev recently, I roomed with a Nigerian studying medicine there. Besides medical school, he’s pastoring an international church which takes five hours of his time every day. And no, he’s not slacking on his studies!
As we continued talking, I had to ask him the obvious question – “How in the world are you finding the energy to do this?!”
His answer was simple, yet profound. “The only thing I can say is, ‘God helps me.’ ”
As I was thinking more about his example of simple faith, and my own exhaustion in the face of lesser challenges, I was reading a passage from Mark Batterson’s book Primal. (It will really challenge you, by the way). In this passage, Batterson discusses how Jesus found the energy to withstand his own crazy life, and quoted John 4:34 –
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
In the context of the passage, John’s primary point is that Jesus finds doing His Father’s will even more important than physical food. At the same time, I think Batterson’s point – that in doing God’s will He gives us energy for further obedience to that will – may well be part of what John has in mind. Just as food nourishes us for our work, so doing God’s will for our lives provides the sustenance we need for further God-honoring activity.
So, I think my new friend and Batterson are essentially saying the same thing – if we want to find the strength we need for all that God is calling us to, we need to look to Him. If we’re exhausted and overwhelmed, we’re probably either doing things we’re not called to, or, not really depending on Him as we do His will. Maybe both.
As you think about your life, do you feel burnt out? Why not take a moment and ask the Lord to give you wisdom as you reflect on John 4:34 in the context of your own life.