For the Weary



Worn out. 

Burnt out.

If you ask someone how they’re doing and don’t hear “fine” in response, chances are pretty good you heard something like the responses above. We are a society that thrives on being “on-the-go,” involved in everything from soccer and PTA to community service and church ministry. Even if you are guarded with your calendar, most likely you occasionally encounter the “perfect storm” of circumstances in which all the events, activities, and obligations you said yes to seem to land in the same seven days. Or maybe your weariness isn’t a result of busyness but suffering. Perhaps you’re walking through a trial sapping you of spiritual, emotional, and even physical strength. 

Regardless of the reason, if you—like me—are weary today, this post is for you. Weariness is not a new phenomenon. From the day God told Adam that he would toil by the “sweat of his brow” (Gen. 3:18–19), we humans have battled exhaustion. But we are not without hope. We can look to the Word of God and find encouragement even in the face of fatigue.

The Temptation of the Weary: An Inward Gaze

For the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah God indicts the nation of Israel, through His prophet, for their idolatry, warning the people of imminent judgment. In chapter 40 the tone changes. Isaiah’s message changes to comfort for the people. But Israel has a retort: “God has forgotten us. He must not care anymore.” 

The Lord responds: 

Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my claim is ignored by my God”? (Isaiah 40:27)

This, in a nutshell, is the temptation that we all face in weariness (or any trial, big or small). We’re tempted to believe that all of our busyness and activity would put the Energizer Bunny to shame, and yet no one cares, least of all God. He gave us this giant to-do list and didn’t even stick around to cheer us on as we complete it. Biblical counselor Paul Tripp says that in suffering we tend to “shrink our world to the size of our problems.”1

Though exhaustion or weariness are likely not the most severe form of suffering we’ll encounter in our lives, it is quite possibly the most common. And as with any trial—whether heavy or light—we will be tempted to turn our gaze inward, falling for the lie that God is absent or uncaring.

However, as we continue reading the end of Isaiah 40, we see God corrects this misconception. 

The Reminder for the Weary: An Unlimited God

Isaiah 40, most of which exalts the greatness and uniqueness of God, concludes with the same message for weary Israel: 

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28)

Isaiah invites the weary to stop looking in at our own weariness and instead lift our gaze to the unlimited God who calls us each by name. 

Unlimited by Time

First, Isaiah says, God is everlasting. Unlike us, God is utterly unbound by time. He not only has all the time in the world, He has all the time there ever was, all the time there ever will be, and all the time there never was. That is to say, God predates time. Time does not provide boundaries on His life as it does yours and mine. We each have a start date. On a certain day of a certain year we entered this world. Not so with God: He has no beginning. At some point in the future, you and I most likely will cease to exist on this earth. Our earthly lives exist within the boundaries of a birth- and a death-date. But God has neither of those.

We weary ourselves by burning the candle at both ends, praying for an extra hour in the day or an extension on a deadline. Our unlimited God knows no such boundaries.

Unlimited in Control

Next, Isaiah invites the weary to behold the Creator, the maker of the entire universe. This not only intimates God’s power but also His sovereignty. He has absolute jurisdiction over every molecule, atom, galaxy, and nation. Not one sparrow is sold without His notice (Luke 12:6–7); not one hair falls from your head without God’s awareness (Matt. 10:30); He knows every snowflake (Job 37:6) and star (Isa. 40:26). Therefore, He surely has not lost control of your life. Indeed the Psalmist declared, “Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). God has no accountability partner, no check or balance; He alone holds absolute forever jurisdiction over every part of the universe. 

Does this seem like a problem? After all, doesn’t absolute power corrupt absolutely? For totally depraved sinners (every member of the human race), it absolutely does. But not in God who is good in all that He does. We have this blessed assurance in Psalm 119:68: 

You are good, and you do what is good; 
teach me your statutes. 

God’s sovereignty may be a severe mercy, but it’s a mercy all the same. We who are so limited in our control—and who often weary ourselves by trying to grasp at control meant only for God—can trust the One who is unlimited in His sovereign rule over all. 

Unlimited in Power

Isaiah next assures the weary that what’s happening to them will never happen to God. Because He is omnipotent—completely unlimited in power—He will never become weary. He never yawns, never naps, never takes a break or a sick day, never experiences fatigue or burnout or stress. Never. He has maximum power all the time. 

What a wonderful truth for the weary. We who at times can barely put one foot in front of the other can rest, fully confident in the One who never grows faint. The promises He offers us in the next verses will always have His infinite power behind them. 

Unlimited in Understanding

Finally, Isaiah points the weary to God’s boundless knowledge and wisdom. Israel had just accused God of not seeing their plight. Isaiah responds by saying God is unlimited in understanding. His omniscience—like all His attributes—could fill volumes. But for the weary it particularly assures us that He understands what we can handle. He knows just how hard our circumstances are. He understands exactly what we’re going through. He gets it. And as we saw earlier, because He is good we can also trust that He never uses this knowledge in a nefarious manner. 

Promises for the Weary: Hope and Help for the Race

Isaiah 40 comes to a close with familiar lines: 

He gives strength to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.
Youths may become faint and weary, 
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who trust in the LORD 
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29–31)

Yahweh—the unlimited God—promises strength for the weary. Our purpose in taking in the theological truths of verse 28 is not to say, “Wow. That’s cool, but who cares?” Theology matters. Because God is unlimited by time and unlimited in control, power, and understanding, the weary can take heart. 

The God who never grows faint will give you power—and never lose any Himself. 

The God who never gets fatigued will energize you—and never wane in energy Himself. 

The God who has unlimited control and unlimited understanding is in perfect control of your circumstances and promises that they will never be more than He can handle. 

The apostle Paul put these promises to the test as he cried out to God over and over for relief from suffering. The answer was not what he was hoping for. It was better. And it’s the answer He gives to us weary ones as well: 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Pausing to pray should be as easy as a conversation between two friends, but let’s be honest: sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to the God of the universe. If you find yourself stuck in your conversation with the King, look no further than the pages of Scripture to give a voice to your deepest longings. In Finding the Words to Pray: 50 Scriptures to Guide Your Prayers, you’ll find fifty prayers taken from Scripture as well as space to write out your response to God’s Word. We’d love to send you a copy of this beautiful new book when you make a donation of any amount today. 

Paul Tripp, “Getting to the Heart of Your Words,”, accessed April 11, 2023,

About the Author

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson lives in a small Minnesota town with her husband, son and daughter, and ridiculous black dog. She enjoys reading books, drinking coffee, and coaching basketball. You can read more of her musings about God's Word at

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