The Power in Our Exhaustion

Silhouette of an tired sportsman at sunset

Thine am I, I was born for thee,
What wouldst thou, Master, make of me?
Give me death or give me life
Give health or give infirmity
Give honor or give obloquy
Give peace profound or daily strife,
Weakness or strength add to my life;
Yes, Lord, my answer still shall be
What wilt thou, Master, have of me?
~Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is

sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in 2 Corinthians 12

Oh beloved, it is true. We are tired. And it is not so much because we have worn ourselves out. It is really deeper than this. We never had anything to give in the first place.

We look at the reality of the waste our lives were before. We see the truth. We were doomed. And in this horrible state, He swept in, and filled us with His very Self. Oh, we thought we were big stuff. Our name and position and job and rank and standing all meant so much to us. But, we were empty.

We were shells
We were alone
We were hurting
We were broken
We were waste

And Jesus did not come in and made things a little bit better. No, things actually got much worse for us. He came in and devastated our ability to do anything whatsoever. He crushed every last bit of us out of ourselves. And it was here, that we died. We had exhausted all of our resources, and we came to the very end. We were done.

This is where many people stop with the good news. We understand that we were nothing, and that G_d came in and saved us through His own Son’s life, death, and resurrection. We even understand that our new existence is the result of our being crucified with Him.

But, often, we do not go far enough. We do not understand that the living sacrifice we are has been consumed on the altar. There is nothing left of us. And this, this ongoing news of the death of our old man, is some of the very best of the very good news of The Gospel.

Can we see it? Paul did. Though, we know the end of the story; though we know that Heaven and a life far beyond our comprehension – and even the wildest of our wildest dreams – awaits us, we know that the path to that place in eternity is literally paved by our inability to get there.

Said more simply: it is not just some nice little platitude to say that we are “weak” and god is “stronger.” This is not a cute little phrase we add to the end of our sermons and prayers and conversations.

No, our utter exhaustion, our complete inability, our ongoing death to self in this life, is the only way that the power of G_d becomes real in our lives. And the more real that His power is in our lives, the more amazingly amazing things we are able to do.

However, this total exhaustion of our own resources is more than just a reminder of the infinite power of G_d. It is more than a reminder of our total weakness. This emptiness within creates a burning yearning for what we have always wanted, and only now begun to taste: His Love, and to be as near to Him as possible, forever. And once we have tasted Love and seen it in our lives, we want nothing else… It drives us with a power we never could have ever imagined – even in our wildest dreams.

So, are you tired? Are you worn out beloved? Good. Let Him finish the work of consuming the dross of your old man. Let Him completely exhaust you. Let Him take you to the very end of yourself. For it is there, where the power of Love truly begins.

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 122; Proverbs 30

Daily Quote: We contradict the Lord to his face when we say: It is hard, it is difficult; we cannot, we are men; we are encompassed with fragile flesh. O blind madness! O unholy audacity! We charge the God of all knowledge with a twofold ignorance, that he does not seem to know what he has made nor what he has commanded, as though, forgetting the human weakness of which he is himself the author, he imposed laws upon man which he cannot endure. ~Pelagius (c. 354-after 418)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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