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Rise Up!

Prayerfully considering the devotion for the week, a series came to mind, but additional resources are needed to begin.Watch for it though.

Today's Scripture passage stood out today.  Americans don't get enough rest.  Admit it.  You probably don't get 8 hours of sleep.  Some of you may work 12 hours a day at work, then additional time at home leaving yourself 4 hours to sleep.  Some are on mandatory overtime working 7 days a week.  Others are on call 24/7 being awakened in the middle of the night jolted out of valuable REM sleep.  Home and Garden shows have beautiful displays of relaxing outdoor living spaces, hot tubs and recreation rooms with the works for one's down time.  All too often people spend several thousand dollars for these things to have these gorgeous, inviting outdoor sanctuaries mock them from the kitchen window at 5 am. All of this is happening to men and women alike of   all ages today. We are so busy and so tired.

I have also had times when I was utterly exhausted.  When my first husband was a pastor, he worked both at a small church and in a local factory.  I helped him with ministry at the church and worked at a local Y. We had 3 teenagers at home as well.  I was working 50-60 hours and he was putting in 70-80 hours on top of parenting.  I remember how totally spent we felt.  How in the world did we accomplish all that? At the end of his life, I was so exhausted care giving and working.  Waking up in the wee hours of the night to help him with what he needed took a toll.  Driving back and forth to the hospital during his final stay I have no idea how I made it home without crashing into the side of a hill on some of the curves on the turnpike.  Except I remember telling God how utterly spent I was.  He is the one who held me together.

In Isaiah 40:30-31, Isaiah tells Israel that it is God who will lift up even those who are young and strong, people we think have an endless supply of energy.  Israel had been in captivity for a very long time.  They lost a lot-- homes, land, family members, freedom-- all because their ancestors were caught up in idolatry.They were exhausted from war and being treated badly by their captors. This was no small matter.  They got exactly what God warned them about.  They broke a very important agreement with God and he let them feel the consequences.  But He also gave them the key to fixing the problem and hope that He had not forgotten them.  He is faithful all the time and takes care of His people who love Him and are faithful.

Some of us reap the consequences of decisions we made a long time ago. Moving up the corporate ladder has it's privileges and it's pitfalls.  Slavery is alive and well here in the USA.  Many salaried positions that pay so well and that have wonderful perks also cost people precious time with their families and sleep.  They are "owned" by the company. My husband and I were talking the other day how so many are running from 4 am to midnight making $$$ and "waving the company flag". I am glad he made choices that brings him home in the evening to have time with me at home.  Others are caught in a vortex out of necessity or just not realizing what it will cost them. Working several part-time jobs to make ends meet has become a norm for many who either lost their well-paying jobs in the economic downturn or who didn't have the opportunity to advance themselves with higher education.  There are also caregivers who take care of children and ailing, elderly relatives who have no idea how to get a few ZZZs in.  The caregivers of this generation either work or had to give up careers to do the amazing work they do. Many are simply parents who love their kids and take care of them while working full-time jobs.  Those little bundles of energy drain the energy right out of their parents by bedtime!  Whether you made choices that brought you to a gerbil wheel spinning out of control or a tired, loving parent, take heart! God's got it if you give Him what wearies you.  

Matthew 11:28 holds the key: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Let us take our burdens to Him. He will not only carry it with you, but He will give you rest.  Sometimes it is miraculous and you can look back and say, "Wow!" or an opportunity will come, if accepted, that will change your circumstances.  Remember God never contradicts His Word, though.  Prayerfully and carefully, ask Him before jumping! You will be blessed if you give it over to Him and follow Him.  God bless you!

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