Let us begin with a few definitions. Defining terms is the way all good apologists, essayists, scholars, scientists, and preachers of tremendous renown begin their arguments. And although, we are none of those things, defining some terms may prove helpful. What is weariness? Weariness is the state of being weary. So far, so good. What is it to be weary? To be weary is to be tired, exhausted, or deeply fatigued. The Century Dictionary expands the definition of weariness:
- The state of being weary or tired; that lassitude or exhaustion of strength which is induced by labor, or lack of sleep or rest; fatigue.
- Mental depression proceeding from monotonous continuance; tedium; ennui; languor.
- A feeling of dissatisfaction or vexation with something or with its continuance.
That is a very thorough definition of weariness. One more definition and then it will be on to spiritual application. What is the definition of COVID-19 weariness? It is the state of being fatigued, mildly depressed, and deeply vexed over the monotonous continuation of this public health crisis. It is completely exacerbated by the following factors: uncertainty regarding the actual nature and lethality of the disease, the delegitimization of the institutions of media (a fancy way of saying—we can’t trust our news sources), and skepticism regarding the effectiveness and rationality of public health solutions. If that is not enough, throw into the mix the muddying effects of a presidential election and the legitimate desire of the populace to preserve and safeguard political freedoms. Ugh! I am now weary just describing it!
So what do we do? As believers, how do we glorify God and bear witness to the power of Jesus Christ through this season? A friend of mine recently asked me a theological question and then proceeded to answer it herself. I love those kinds of conversations! She answered her question something like this, “I know, look to the Scriptures.” Yes, and yes! The Scriptures help with COVID-19 weariness. The apostle Paul writes to the Romans:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:1-6, ESV)
This passage offers much to help us with our COVID-19 weariness. Allow me to mine out a few nuggets and I trust that you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will finish the application:
- Believers have an obligation to bear with others. The yoke of Jesus Christ does not permit us to pursue a course of action that gives full vent to our frustrations.
- Our example, as always, is Jesus Christ. He willingly suffered injustice for the sake of his people. He prioritized the salvation and eternal status of his flock over any right he had to blast the perpetrators of injustice.
- The apostle Paul directs the believers in Rome to find their hope “through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures.” Let us do the same. Who draws water from dry wells? The pronouncements of public health officials and the promises of politicians will not provide us with the rest and hope we need, only the Lord can do that.
- Please note that Paul’s desire is that the body live in harmony with one another. Let us keep that in the forefront of our minds as we navigate through this season.
Finally, persistent and chronic problems give us the opportunity to and truly demand from us, that we acknowledge our dependence on the Lord. As Dave Zuleger notes, “Suffering doesn’t create dependence; suffering highlights dependence.” [Millican and Woodyard, eds. Before We Forget, 191] COVID-19 is highlighting our dependence on the Lord. Let’s lean on Jesus more and more. Have a blessed week and we will see you soon.
Love in Christ,