At the end of a journey, you’re weary.
At the end of a party, you’re weary. (Or is that just me?)
At the end of the school year, you’re weary.
Not that I’m complaining…
But I so want school to be over, and it’s not yet! I can see the end of this lengthy tunnel, but I’m not quite there.
And I’m so, so weary.
The school year seemed to go by pretty quickly…until now. Now, I feel like school will never be over. But if I can trudge through the last couple weeks, I’ll get there.
But if I trudge, I’ll finish poorly. My grades might drop because I didn’t work as hard. All my hard work at the beginning of the year might not matter because I messed it up at the end.
Well, that’s unfortunate.
Because I feel like trudging. These last couple weeks have been eagerly awaited, and now I’m here. It’d be really easy to start trudging. I’d still be going…I’d just be going really slowly and shuffle-y.
But that’s not how I need to finish.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved 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 loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NASB)
I wish we could all be spiritual giants like Paul. He makes it look easy. We all know the transformation he had on the way to Damascus and how Jesus showed him the right way to live. Ever since, Paul had been one persistent fellow. He didn’t give up. He kept preaching the Truth. He understood why he suffered.
But he did grow weary. He asked for prayers constantly. Obviously, he needed strength; but he fought hard anyway. He was shipwrecked and persecuted and imprisoned; but he fought hard anyway.
How could Paul keep running the race with such persistence? When everything seemed to be against him?
Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in [c]insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NASB)
(Fyi, this is one of those put-on-your-mirror, highlight-in-the brightest-neon-color-you-can-find kind of verses. It’s going to come in handy. OFTEN.)
Paul could be so strong because he relied on the One Who is strongest. Paul had a “thorn in the flesh.” We don’t know what that thorn was, but it was tormenting Paul. It was making him weary. Yes, Paul, the spiritual giant who didn’t let anything get to him. This “thorn” got to him. And who did he turn to? His Savior.
Paul wanted this thorn to go away and stay away, but God knew best. He knew that Paul could handle it because He was with Him. Paul could show Him glory through his suffering.
I am somehow going to get through two more weeks of school. And hopefully, I’ll be wearing a big smile and proclaiming A’s when I get done.
I know this Christian life can be hard…painful…excruciating. We all have a “thorn in the flesh,” even the ones who seem the strongest. (They just hide it well.) We suffer so that God’s great power can be magnified to the world. He can still use us, even in suffering, pain, and weariness. He can still use us even when we are tormented by “a messenger of Satan” (whether it be a lie, a doubt, or a fear). He can use you.
I encourage you to not just chug through life. Yes, heaven will be so much sweeter than anything on this earth. But don’t chug. Don’t trudge. Don’t end with a collapse across the finish line.
Try to run as best you can. Your Savior is cheering you on.