Beauty or Burnout?

Written By: Chris Mace

Beauty or Burnout?
Fleeting Light, Dusk on the Taunton River, Sullivan, Maine

If we do not believe in God or do not perceive Him as Someone who is interested in our lives, we miss His voice speaking to us through creation’s beauty. Also, at times, our psychic and physical energies have been so overwhelmed and dissipated with the busyness and preoccupations of hectic days that we experience mini “burnouts.” These not only diminish the fleeting moments of creation’s  magnificence but also sap the joy from our entire days.

Minor “burnout” may respond to a reprioritizing pep talk, a good night’s rest, or an energizing vacation. However, we are all susceptible to serious burnout when the things we strive for and the ways we conduct our lives disappoint and seem futile. The prophet Isaiah had special advice for those who have reached “flame out” status because of failed expectations. He had been reassured by God that he was God’s servant and would be used to bring God glory. Because he focused on results and not God, he saw no evidence that God was fulfilling His promise. He felt powerless and saw no benefit from his efforts. “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.” (Isaiah 49:4)

At that point, Isaiah make an important, conscious decision to trust God to do what He had said He would do. His submission statement should be posted on all our desks or walls, “… Yet, I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” (Isaiah 49:4) He listened as he heard God reiterate, “I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” The key to that incredibly big promise and huge responsibility for this little-known prophet was that God said. “I will make you…” Therein lay the power. God could and would do it. He needed to trust God, not himself, to do so.

Remember Christ’s difficult, extensive, and exhausting work and how sadly disastrous the end seemed. Even though he had poured his energy and his heart into people while doing God’s will, he was murdered. Praise God for the resurrection, but when he left this world, he would have been considered a failure by most standards. He had only a meager group of followers. Yet Jesus knew that his suffering for the purposes of God would result in joy—both his and ours! Believers are encouraged to look to him as “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:2) What greater affirmation could there be?

Ultimate purposes and hope may be difficult to define if God is not in the mix of one’s life. Trusting God makes all the difference because the joy of the Lord is the believer’s strength. When the Psalmist was in deep despair, he remembered the benefits of his faith: God’s mercy, forgiveness, unfailing love, and eternal hope. His descriptive summation was that God gave “full redemption” (Psalm 130).

The Apostle Paul had learned the truth about full redemption as he dealt with physical problems and treacherous situations: “…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:10-13)

Seeing life through the lens that God is present, powerful, good, loves creation and its creatures, and has good purposes for us will bring a sense of gratitude and hope and a fuller realization and appreciation for both the constant and the fleeting beauty around us. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Share This