Hope for the Exhausted

If you're feeling more worn out these days than usual, take heart: You are not alone. Everybody, a recent news report asserts, is exhausted.

"The chaos of life and its collision with technology and tragedy has more of us feeling drained, frazzled and emotionally overrun," USA Today declared. The list of potential culprits is a long one: from fractured American politics, an insecure global scene, the rise of mass shootings, and even repeated bouts of unstable weather across the country and around the globe. It's all leaving us tense and, in many cases, exhausted.

The newspaper also noted a 2018 American Psychological Association survey that revealed "more than six in 10 adults cite uncertainty about the future, both with their own health and that of others, as a source of stress. Insurance costs and looming uncertainty about the future are just two of the numerous causes of stress surrounding health." The article lists many other factors that contribute to the general anxiety and resulting exhaustion being felt by millions of Americans: partisan media commentaries on cable television, "information overload" from always-handy social media, and encountering friends and co-workers in stressful situations.

Reporter Jim Beckerman recalls another year filled with anxiety, 1968, and drew a lesson from it. During that year, America was at war in Vietnam, protests filled the streets, and political assassinations plagued our land. Killed within two months of each other were civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Kennedy, a front-runner for president that year, lost his brother, John F. Kennedy, to an assassin's bullet five years earlier. Despite passage of civil rights legislation the following year, the murder of President Kennedy kicked off an era of discord that culminated in the tumultuous and stress-inducing events of 1968.

Beckerman notes that an event on December 24 of that year helped Americans shift their viewpoint: A picture of Earth from space, taken by astronauts on Apollo 8—the first spaceship to orbit the moon—helped close the year on an optimistic note. Finding a positive message in today's circumstances could also help, he wrote: "Maybe, in arguably the most divided era in American history since the Civil War, there are still things we can agree on, a common future we can work toward. And some way to stop being exhausted."

This reporter may not know it, but the Creator of the Universe has already given all people, everywhere, a "way to stop being exhausted." It's called the Sabbath, which was established on the seventh day of Creation week: "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Genesis 2:3).

We're told in Exodus 20:8-11 that on the Sabbath day, no one in a household is to do any work, because the Lord blessed and hallowed—made holy—that specific day. It's a day the whole world can step back and view the wonders of the Creator's hand—and find lasting rest and peace.

Jesus, God's son, emphasized the importance of the Sabbath when he told the Pharisees criticizing the disciples for plucking grains to eat, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). The One who created the Sabbath told these religious leaders that the day of rest was created for people to enjoy—not as a burden to be placed upon them.

You can learn more about what the Sabbath means, how to observe it, and the benefits it conveys by reading Pastor Doug's two-part article, Seize the Day. You'll see just how the Sabbath can help you find rest and relief from today's worries, and help you prepare for an eternity of happiness, stress-free!

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