September 23, 2020


Isaiah 42:1-4

He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.

—  Isaiah 42:4

We hear a lot about burnout these days in the service professions: social workers, teachers, police officers, pastors, medical workers, and more. When your work focuses on serving people in distress, it’s difficult not to become distressed too. It can be unsettling to pour your heart and soul into helping others, and in the end to see little improvement and receive little gratitude.

With this in mind, we realize that Jesus is profoundly remarkable: “In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.”

Are you faltering or discouraged, or are you supporting someone who is? You don’t need to be a service professional to experience burnout. Families often face wearying times. And working to love people in our communities who are grieving, dealing with broken relationships, or experiencing mental health struggles takes a toll on everyone. As our lifespans get longer and longer, more and more people are also serving as caregivers for elderly parents.

You and I are not Jesus; rather, we are called to be his followers. Because he does not falter or become discouraged, we can give ourselves permission to feel discouraged. And we can surrender our discouragement to him; we can let that part of us die too, and we can trust that at the right time (even a long time from now) we will be replenished and able to continue serving as his followers again.

Dear Jesus, when I am discouraged, fix my eyes on you and grant me the grace to be restored. Amen.

About the author — Syd Hielema

Syd Hielema serves the Christian Reformed Church in North America as director of a ministry project called Connections II. He has also served with Faith Formation Ministries, as a professor of theology and youth ministry at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, and as a chaplain and professor at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. Syd has been married to Evelyn for 43 years, and they enjoy bird watching near their home in Ancaster.

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