I visited an old friend in a nursing home this week. Once he was a successful businessman, enjoying life as he knew it. Now things were different. He was just waiting to die. What does one say to a friend that might help at a time such as this?
Well, we reminisced. Old friends like to do that. We told stories of the past, and perhaps embellished them just a bit. This brought a few laughs, but the relief was only temporary. I could have said, “This is rough, but when you get to heaven things will be better.” This might have led us to discuss such topics as: Is there a heaven? Will everyone be there? If we had concluded that everyone will be there and this heavenly existence will be just the way we want it to be, the conversation might have brought some comfort. However, it would have been false comfort.
No, if we are to bring comfort that is not superficial, we have to deal with the problem. Therefore, we turned to Psalm 6 and saw David in his most difficult hours. The Psalm begins with the words, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am faint. My bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. I am worn out from groaning all night long. I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow.”
We do not know the specific causes for this depressed state of mind and soul. However, by reading about David’s life, we know that it could have been any number of heartaches. He had family trouble. While the children were growing up, he was too busy to show them his love, which would have included discipline when it was necessary. He was a father at home, yet away. David had children from different wives, which didn’t make life easier. One son raped his half sister. Her full brother, in anger, killed this half brother and then fled from home. That was a heavy load for David.
If it were not the family that brought him grief, it could have been the wars Israel was always fighting. Those Philistines would never go away. It could also have been the three-year famine that caused his people such suffering.
Whatever the cause of his depressed state of mind, David was burned out.
What did he do? He did not party his grief away. He did not take his depression out on those nearest to him or get angry and curse God. He did not commit suicide leaving a note beside him saying, “Life is unfair. I can’t take it any more!” No, David turned to the Lord praying, “Be merciful to me. Heal me, Lord. Please deliver me.” In prayer he poured out his grief to a Father who understood. Then he testifies that his soul was refreshed. Hear his testimony, “You are my lamp, O Lord. The Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” David is giving out counsel. When you are burned out and know not where to go, turn to God. He can turn your darkness into light.
You hear this and wonder, could this happen to any person, or is this just a story of what happened to a man who lived hundreds of years ago by the name of David?
The Bible telling us that God offers us the same peace David experienced. Christ can bring that light, peace, and forgiveness to all who are in a living, personal relationship with Him. The first step in this personal relationship is to confess our sins and let Jesus Christ come into our lives. Then He will forgive our sins and restore us into a personal relationship with God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. In this relationship God meets us as He met David.
The second step is to bring our cares to Him. Remember Jesus’ invitation to those who trust him, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will bring you rest.” We are told to cast all of our anxieties on Him, for He cares for us. For my friend whom I had gone to visit, it was a terminal illness. He had been told him that his time on earth was limited. That was depressing news for a man who enjoyed life. For others it might be marital problems. Take God’s counsel serious and see how the marriage can be restored. This means honestly repenting to each other, trusting God to forgiven you, and then forgiving one another for all of those hurts. It means having a daily devotional as husband and wife, and letting the Lord lead you.
Whatever the problems might be that weigh heavy on your heart, God has the answers for you and me, just as He did for David.
What a privilege it was to sit beside my friend and share this glorious message of Jesus Christ with him! Life was heavy for him. He was burned out. He had not been interested in spiritual matters during his life. The church was not a part of his agenda, and to use his words, “The roof would have caved in” had he attended Sunday worship services. From his point of view, he did not have much going for him when he had to stand before God, except the grace of God. For the Lord has given a promise to such a person in his last days, “He who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.” That is grace Ð undeserved love. It is for all who trust Christ.
Now you might say, “Your friend has the best of both worlds. He could live as he pleased while he was well, and then, in days of sorrow, sickness, and death, could enjoy the assurance of a heavenly home.” No, that is not the way it works. When one has tasted of God’s divine presence as they walk through this life, they would never want to be without it. The cry of many who meet Christ later in life is, “Why did I waste all those years?”
Are you feeling burned out? Study Psalm 6 and see what God has to tell you.