You know that feeling of exhaustion that goes beyond physical tiredness? You are physically tired too of course, but it’s more than that. It’s a sort of tiredness that goes through your body into your very soul. Have you ever been that tired? Sometimes it’s having too much to do that brings it on. Sometimes it’s the loss of something you loved or something you hoped for. Many times it’s just plain worry. Worry over the known, or worry over the unknown. Have you been exhausted like that before?
Students know this exhaustion well. They arise before the Sun to listen to a caffeinated professor. They face heavy demands on their mind to push through the ennui and focus on the lecture or discussion in class. After 4-5 hours of this mental exertion, a quick lunch might be all that is allowed before rushing off to the workplace. A long day of labor awaits, followed by a late-night arrival back at the dorm. The student’s bed greets them loudly upon their arrival, but it must be given the cold shoulder in favor of the less-than-welcoming desk. Piled high with assignments, more work must be done. Finally, and much to late, the bed wins the argument with the desk and the student is afforded a meager amount of sleep. A few hours later the alarm offends their ears once more, and it’s time to repeat the cycle.
Teachers know this exhaustion too. Days begin before it’s light out, and they usually end after the darkness has fallen. Creating new classes, grading assignments, meeting with students, and working with the technology for all of those tasks, are weighty responsibilities. It’s a wonderful life, but it is a busy life, and often an exhausting life. Sometimes a day begins when the last one ended. Which is just to say that occasionally you skip the sleeping part of your day.
Actually, no department in a college is unacquainted with exhaustion. The admissions department seems to run 24/7. When one event concludes, another is just around the corner. Data gets analyzed and numbers get crunched. Meetings are frequent and emails are unending. It’s all good, but it’s all busy. Yet, it is administrators who get to have the real fun. While not missing out on the late nights, early mornings, and constant events, they also get to manage a constant stream of important decisions that often have far reaching consequences. Physical exhaustion? Check. Mental exhaustion? Double check. Equally exhausted assistants? Triple check.
No matter who you are, you probably want rest. You can feel the need in your bones. Your mind aches like your back for a moment of rest. To what will you turn? Will Hulu calm your aching back? Will Fortnight quell your anxious thoughts? Will a pizza take away the cramp in your hand from writing papers? Will a girlfriend or boyfriend relieve the pressure of your busy life?
How will you find your rest? How will your soul be nourished when it is famished by the toil of your daily life? Is there anything strong enough to satisfy this great need? Friendship? Sleep? Movies? Conversation? Gossip? Fights? Gifts? Beer? Theft? Compliments? Pain-killers? Pranks? Success? Winning? Victories? Intimacy? Revenge? What is there that can give rest to your soul?
Today the Dean of Students at my college shared the source of true rest. He called us to consider the truth of Psalm 62:5:
“In God alone, oh my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”
So often the flesh entices us to turn to it to receive rest for our souls. And yet the only true rest our souls will find is in God alone. Dean Fritz also exhorted us to “speak truth to your soul” since this is exactly what the Psalmist does in this chapter. While the Psalmist’s peril is not yours or mine, the solution is the same. Rest in God, by speaking truth to your soul.
Today, in your anxious moments and exhausted hours, speak truth to your soul. Remind yourself that only God can provide the rest that you desperately seek. He is a sovereign God. He is a good God.
Rest in Him.