This past month has been tiring for me. I’ve been clearing out two “estates.” My mother died at the end of last month. She was a hoarder– she saved everything, and it was kept in piles and drawers and closets. My brother, sister, and I (and our families) must sort through all the “junk” to find things of importance or value, and decide how to share it, dispose of it, or give it away. Old books, old clothes, old papers– some have sentimental or material value. Others have been exposed to mildew or they’ve been torn or damaged or stained. Mom had a big house, and she had lived there for over 60 years, so the piles are tall, deep, and everywhere!
At the same time, we had a loss in my husband’s family that required that we clean out the family homestead. This home had been in the family for over 5 generations, and included a farm and workshop, complete with machinery, vehicles, and furniture that had to be removed in less than 30 days! While not as cluttered with old papers and clothes, this estate included bigger, bulkier items, often covered with grit, grime, oil, and dirt.
We had to finish up with the old homestead earlier this week. And we are exhausted. I have found it difficult to concentrate on this blog, on Bible study, on personal prayer time, and just getting “normal” things done around the house. I’m sore, I’m trying to fight off an early Spring cold, and I’m mentally and emotionally drained.
God has sent wonderful reminders of His comfort, His strength, His peace, and His care in the past few weeks. My prayers may have been hurried or shortened lately, but I can FEEL the prayers of others on our behalf. As tired as we have been lately, we have also been blessed. Wonderful family (even under difficult and trying circumstances!), kind and helpful friends, unexpected (and much needed) resources–God has not left us to face this season alone.
It is not God’s will or His plan that we should exhaust ourselves. That doesn’t mean that He won’t allow us to travel through periods of stress, work, grief, pain, or even temporary exhaustion. Jesus himself stayed in the wilderness for 40 days without food. He was exhausted and hungry when Satan tried to tempt Him to turn His back on the Father. Satan’s temptations are no different today. He tempts us with empty promises of ease and rest– IF we depend on someone or something other than God! He tempts us with the idea of fame and fortune– IF we abandon God’s provision and His purposes. He tempts us with immediate solutions–IF we stop waiting on the Lord to come to our rescue.
4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
8-9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.Matthew 4:1-11 (The Message)
I’m tired today. But God knows better than I do how to give me rest, how to “recharge my batteries,” and how to guide me through the days ahead. I don’t think God is “testing” me in the same way He allowed Jesus to be tested. But I think He has allowed me to experience a season that is testing me. Will I keep looking for Jesus in my weariness and grief? Will I be tempted to find my rest in someone or something other than Him? Will I recognize the resources and help He sends during this time? One of the things He has provided is this blog– a chance for me to stop, reflect on, and write about what’s going on. I’m tired, but I’m also being held in God’s Almighty and capable hands. God has provided helpers, counselors, friends, and family to lean on, and who can lean on me in turn. God has laid out His promises for a bright future and eternal Joy, Peace, and Rest. God has given me a moment to reflect on His Goodness! Now, back to work for today!
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