God Uses Tired People
I have been yawning all day long. Granted, it’s Monday. And granted, spring break is less than 24 hours away. But somehow, I managed to get 7 ½ hours of sleep last night. And I even had a cup of coffee during the 10:00 hour this morning.
So why am I so tired?
Maybe I’m tired because I’m a grad student and an English GA. Maybe I’m tired because I’ve had a busy weekend, which included a five hour take-home test that I spent the majority of Saturday afternoon working on. Maybe I’m tired because, even though I’m excited for spring break, I also know that I’ll have students’ papers to grade and my own classes’ projects to work on.
I don’t think, however, that I’m the only tired person today. And I know that I’m not the most tired person. Many of you could answer the question, “why are you tired?” with a lengthy list of tasks that you had to complete over the weekend. Some of you have had to pull all-nighters to finish school projects. Some of you who aren’t in school are struggling to balance work, home, and church life, and being tired is just a natural byproduct of your multiple commitments. (And many of you don’t even have a spring break to look forward to!)
Something I’ve found myself asking is whether God can still use me, even when I’m tired. I’m especially concerned that my walk with Him will disappear when I’m tired because I won’t be willing to wake up early in the morning or stay up late at night to pursue Him. It’s much easier for me to hit snooze one more time or to go to bed earlier. Can I still have a meaningful walk with God, even when I’m tired? Can I still serve others well, even when I’m tired? Can I still do my best in work and school, even when I’m tired?
The ending of Isaiah 40 has always been an immense source of comfort to me, and it holds answers to my questions. In it, God directly addresses His children in their weakness, in their weariness.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Can God use me when I’m tired? Yes—but not because I’m able to muster up enough strength to be useful. The source of my strength is Jehovah, the everlasting God. He gives power to the faint. He enables His children to “run and not be weary,” to “walk and not faint.” And He gives this supernatural, sufficient grace to those who wait on Him, those who earnestly seek Him.
Now, I firmly believe in the spiritual benefit of naps. Sometimes, going to bed is the most spiritual thing a person can do. Maybe, if you’ve been exhausted today, you should plan to prioritize an earlier bedtime tonight.
But I also understand that all of us have different stages in our lives when adequate rest just isn’t possible. Naps do have great benefits. I would encourage you to get as much rest as you can, even in the midst of a busy life. But whether you are able to or not, remember that God can still use you as you persevere in waiting on Him.
Yes, being tired makes it more difficult to resist temptation and to love others. Being tired can also limit our effectiveness in our work. But God can still use us, even in our tiredness, because He is not limited by our lack of strength. My effectiveness never came from my own abilities anyway. Maybe tiredness is just another one of those weaknesses that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 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.
When we’re the weakest, then God receives the greatest glory from using us in spite of our weaknesses and even through our weaknesses. God can use something as seemingly silly as my being tired to put His power on display.
Don’t let your tiredness be an opportunity to complain or to neglect the good things that God has put in your hands to do today. Let your weaknesses instead drive you to the feet of your everlasting God. Find your rest in understanding and knowing Him. And when you start to see God still at work in your tired, busy life, view that as a reminder to worship your all-sufficient, all-powerful, gracious God.