Battling exhaustion is, well, exhausting. Most of us can relate to the exhaustion that accompanies a difficult medical diagnosis, the ending of a relationship, or the impending doom of facing the death of a loved one. Exhaustion can show up in a myriad of ways and can significantly impact our daily lives. We no longer feel up to doing the things we once enjoyed. Instead, it feels as though it is an act of Congress to be able to get up in the morning.
Even though dealing with exhaustion can be difficult, we are not alone in our struggles. There were many people in the Bible who also battled exhaustion. Many individuals believe the people in the Bible are perfect, but they are not because no human is perfect. Only God is perfect. The Bible gives us a description of people's lives, and once we read about them, we can see they are not much different than us.
Here are five Bible characters who battled exhaustion:
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One Bible character who battled exhaustion was Elijah. 1 Kings 19:1-18 is a detailed account of the exhaustion Elijah was facing. He was being hunted to be killed. Not to mention the fact that Elijah was suicidal and wanted his life to end. Many individuals ignore this important part of the Bible because suicide is seen as "taboo" among many Christian circles. Rather than acknowledging how Elijah truly felt, they ignore this part of the Bible.
The sad part of this is that when we feel overwhelmed and exhausted, we can also feel suicidal at times. For many individuals, they can cope with these feelings; however, there are others who have a harder time coping with such heaviness. These are the individuals who need to know they are not alone. Thoughts of suicide don't need to be a taboo subject. Instead, people need to have safe places where they can share their feelings without fear of others seeing them as "crazy" or "mentally unstable."
Elijah was exhausted and God met him where he was. He provided Elijah with food and water, and told him to take a nap. The Lord also spoke to Elijah in the gentle breeze. God does the same for us today as He wants to lift the heavy burden tied around our necks. Go to Him and rest at His feet. He understands all of your emotions and feelings. Not one of them is forgotten by Him.
Just as God gave Elijah rest, He will also give you rest. You might find rest in relaxing at home for a day or going out and spending some time in nature. Listen to the calm breeze and allow it to rejuvenate your heart. The Lord doesn't want you to be exhausted and to feel as though every day is a struggle. He is your support. Don't be afraid to lean on Him and go to Him in prayer.
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A third character in the Bible who battled exhaustion was Paul. Paul tells us that he would often go without sleep, "I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked" (2 Corinthians 11:27). As Paul says in this passage, he is all too familiar with exhaustion. He had labored, toiled, gone without sleep, gone without food, gone without water, and gone without proper clothing. He had seen it all and still chose to glorify God through his life.
When we are battling exhaustion, we don't often think about praising God. Instead, we feel like becoming upset or short-tempered with those around us. This isn't what God wants us to do. Instead, He wants us to continue to glorify Him in our actions and to do the right thing even if it is hard. Exhaustion can be temporary if we do the right things to prevent it in the future; however, if we act mean when we are exhausted, those hurtful words could stay with a person for a long time.
Don't feel alone in your exhaustion. It is a normal part of life, but you don't have to remain in it. Take time to get some extra sleep, extra rest, and set boundaries for your own mental health. You don't have to do everything all the time. Choose the things that are most important to you and stick with those things. Nobody expects you to be at every event, every function, or every special holiday. Take a break and praise the Lord through your battles with exhaustion. Through exhaustion, it can help you be more aware of God's strength in your life (2 Corinthians 12:10).
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A fourth character in the Bible who battled exhaustion was Hannah. Hannah was a woman who was unable to have children. Due to not being able to bear a child for her husband, she became depressed. Her husband didn't understand her pain and invalidated her feelings. She poured her heart out to God and He answered her prayers. She later became pregnant with a baby boy and named him Samuel. Joy and happiness returned to her because of God's answer to her prayer.
She dedicated her son to the temple; however, she trusted the Lord and His purposes for her son. Why does this relate to exhaustion? It relates to exhaustion since Hannah had depression. She was depressed and depression can make you feel exhausted all the time. As someone who struggles with chronic depression, sometimes it feels as though the simplest tasks are solving the world's largest math equation.
Depression can make you feel exhausted and unable to do anything. Despite this exhaustion Hannah felt, she didn't hesitate to bring her worries and concerns to the Lord. He listened to her and He lifted her weary soul. In the same way, bring your worries and concerns to the Lord, and He will uphold you. Remember, exhaustion doesn't always have to be physical exhaustion. It can also be mental, emotional, or spiritual exhaustion.
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A fourth Bible character who battled exhaustion was Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul was not a man who followed God faithfully. Jonathan, however, loved the Lord and followed Him with his whole heart. David was Jonathan's best friend as well as his brother-in-law. They had a tight bond with each other and loved each other as brothers.
Due to Jonathan's close friendship with David, he was able to save David's life many times from the clutches of Saul. Saul wanted to kill David because he didn't want to lose his seat on the throne. Despite Saul's efforts to murder David, his plans never succeeded. This was because God's plan was to have David succeed him as king, and this is what happened. In fact, it was only David's lineage that had a seat on the throne ever again in Israel after the kingdom split.
Jonathan understood exhaustion and battled with it because of all of the mental exhaustion he felt from his father. David was his friend and Saul was his father. We don't know how many times Jonathan was kept up at night, worrying about David or hoping his father would change his ways. In many instances, we can see ourselves in Jonathan. He knew what it felt like to be exhausted, both mentally and physically.
Despite the exhaustion Jonathan endured, he relied on the Lord. He trusted that God knew what He was doing and would bring about his good purposes. The exhaustion you are feeling now is serving a purpose. No pain or struggle is ever for no reason. There is a reason behind everything and this includes your exhaustion. Through your exhaustion, you can catch more glimpses of Jesus in your life.
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Another Bible character who battled exhaustion was Jesus. When Jesus was born into the world, He was fully man and fully God. This is known as the hypostatic union within the theological studies of Christianity. What this means is that Jesus never lost His divinity when He took on human form. Instead, He added humanity to His divinity. In other words, He was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man.
Since Jesus is as fully man in addition to being fully God, He felt all the same things we feel, including hunger, thirst, and tiredness. Jesus would teach for days at times and He knew what it felt like to be exhausted. The Lord would often go off to solitary places to rest and talk with the Father. As we can see, even Jesus–God Himself–experienced exhaustion while He walked the earth. If Jesus Christ wasn't immune to exhaustion, then we definitely are not either.
Now in the present Heaven, Jesus never grows tired, hungry, or thirsty, but He still remembers what it feels like. Jesus isn't someone who can't relate to us. He took on the form of a man in order to be able to relate to us and die for our sins. We might feel alone at times in our exhaustion or feel as though God couldn't possibly understand what we are going through, but He does understand. He understands far more than you could ever imagine.
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Originally published Monday, 04 September 2023.