2 Corinthians 11:27-29
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.…
Weariness means to wear away the nervous sensibilities. Paul felt this. It is not lassitude which comes from indifference, but the exhaustion felt by the earnest and faithful soul. Let us thank God for restorative power. In nature how blessed this is! So with grace!
I. WEARINESS COMES WITH TEMPORARY DISAPPOINTMENT AND DEFEAT. God has promised to perfect that which concerneth us, but the way of perfection is just the way which wearies us. We are disappointed at the slow progress. And we are human. Think of Rebekah! — "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth." The motherly anxiety was at work. As we get older we feel "limitations" of power. Disappointment is a cloud, and we wait till the heavens are clear and the all-revealing light comes again! But we are defeated too! But first defeat has made many a true general, has quickened many an inventor, like Watt, Stephenson, and Brunel. Weariness comes to student, explorer, missionary, and philanthropist saddened with ingratitude. But this is not the weariness of sin, that not only exhausts, but destroys.
II. WEARINESS COMES WITH SELF-DISCOVERY. The volcano tells what is in the earth. The lightning reveals the latent electricity in the air. Passions and lusts reveal terrible possibilities in good men. David said, "I am weary with my groaning," and again, "I am weary of my crying." Conflict with sin in all its forms is weary work.
1. The roots are so hidden. Like some garden weeds have roots that never seem uprooted, long white threads that interlace the earth and strangle other plants.
2. The battle is so varied. Like Stanley's passage of the Falls, enemies on both banks and on the island, mid-stream.
3. The avengements are so real. There is no escaping the voice! Thou art the man. And the soul cannot pretend not to hear. But think of this same Paul. "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" The answer is — Christ. More than conquerors!
III. WEARINESS COMES WITH UNBELIEF. The Greeks had an underlying sadness in their outwardly beautiful life. It is faith which gives life and zest. Thomas Carlyle says, "All epochs, wherein unbelief, under whatever form soever, maintains its sorry victory, should they ever for a moment glitter with a sham splendour, vanish from the eyes of posterity; because no one chooses to burden himself with study of the unfruitful." Men must be weary who have lost faith.
1. Round of same duties without a goal.
2. Growth a mockery merging into weakness.
3. Health into pain. Vision into dimness. Thought into blank!
IV. WEARINESS COMES FROM SOLITUDE. The regiment is thinning in which you started. You have seen many arms of the soldiers "dip below the downs" into the valley. You are beginning in a human sense to feel solitary. The Master was weary in solitude: "What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?" So was Paul: "At Athens alone." But the Christian is never alone. "I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you."
(W. M. Statham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.