Last week (and this one too, I fear) I was struggling with some very annoying sinus trouble. Now, my preferred method for dealing with minor pains and sickness is just to ignore them and drive on. That approach works well for many activities, but ignoring physical pain and weakness has a way of draining mental energy. My preferred method for dealing with lowered mental energy, in turn, is simply to ignore that situation as well.
But here’s the catch. Significant aspects of both of my jobs–sportswriter and preacher–require substantial amounts of creative mental energy to do well. So for long stretches last week, as I sat and stared at a computer screen, I found myself practically unable to compose a sports story or sermon.
In retrospect I realize, of course, that my lack of mental output was nothing more than a result of being sick. When you’re ignoring something, however, you tend not to think about it. If I had, I could have simply admitted I was sick, gotten some rest, and done better the next day. Instead I began to wonder if I was really more lazy and morally weak than I had previously thought.
As a teenager I read a book on Christian discipleship that said, in effect, don’t confuse exhaustion with sin. Now, more than 30 years later, I think I understand what that writer was talking about.
Even God himself rested. Sometimes what his people need is not so much repentance as rest.