Do You Still Run on Empty?

For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.

  • Exodus 31:15

I commanded you at that time: “The Lord your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross over ahead of the other Israelites. However, your wives, your children and your livestock (I know you have much livestock) may stay in the towns I have given you, until the Lord gives rest to your fellow Israelites as he has to you, and they too have taken over the land that the Lord your God is giving them across the Jordan. After that, each of you may go back to the possession I have given you.”

  • Deuteronomy 3:18-20

Then his people recalled the days of old,
    the days of Moses and his people—
where is he who brought them through the sea,
    with the shepherd of his flock?
Where is he who set
    his Holy Spirit among them,
who sent his glorious arm of power
    to be at Moses’ right hand,
who divided the waters before them,
    to gain for himself everlasting renown,
who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country,
    they did not stumble;
like cattle that go down to the plain,
    they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.
This is how you guided your people
    to make for yourself a glorious name.

  • Isaiah 63:11-14

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
’65, I was 17 and running up 101
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on

Running on (running on empty)
Running on (running blind)
Running on (running into the sun)
But I’m running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it, with what you do to survive
’69, I was 21 and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned into the road I’m on

Running on (running on empty)
Running on (running blind)
Running on (running into the sun)
But I’m running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don’t know about anyone, but me
If it takes all night, that’ll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes, I see them running too

Running on (running on empty)
Running on (running blind)
Running on (running into the sun)
But I’m running behind

Honey, you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I’d love to stick around, but I’m running behind
(Running on) You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find
(Running blind) Running into the sun, but I’m running behind

Thank you

  • Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

As for the Scriptures, God establishes a day of rest.  We need that rest, but for those of the Israelites who settled on the east bank of the Jordan River, there rest is delayed until the enemies have been driven out.  And Isaiah is talking about when our work is done, we will be rewarded with true rest.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I am some kind of exhausted: physical, emotional, mental, something else, or a combination.  My wife is still ill.  I have some medical problems.  Etc.

Tomorrow, as of writing this, is the first day in a week and a half when I am not going to have the alarm set.  I wonder if I will awaken in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep.

In the Jackson Browne song quoted above with the video of a performance, he made that song a hit in 1990, so if you do the math, he was in his early forties when he had this moment of introspection.  He describes the life of a rocker quite well, constantly on the road to the next town.  Really, anyone in the entertainment industry with nightly concerts will have a similar experience.  But since Jackson Browne is in his mid-70s, is he still running on empty or has he found what he was looking for?  He felt he owned the road, he had put in so many miles, but where was he going?  He had good friends along the way, but far too often, he saw in their eyes that they had not found the thing they were seeking either.  He needed to find some people who “believed.”  And in this modern era, that too often means ABC (anything but Christianity {or Christ}).

But figuring out if we have found what we are searching is a question for each of us.  Sometimes, we run on empty when we rely on our own strength instead of God’s strength, but when God wants us to rest for a while, we are not going to get that “second wind” if we try to work through the exhaustion.

Sometimes, we can get more done, if we simply take a nap first.  But sometimes, when I take a nap, I am done for the day, usually awakening with a headache or the weird feeling when the brain is not quite in gear.  In that condition, it is best if I do not write anything.

What we need to learn, or is it just me, that God’s inspiration and God’s strength comes on God’s timing.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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