War Weariness

War Weariness

War Weariness


“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 (NIV)

God did not promise that we would never get weary. But He does say to come to Him and that He will give us relief. For it is the spiritual forces of darkness in this life, rather than the struggles born of blood and flesh, that wear us down. The weariness may be inevitable, but it is the apathy that is dangerous, which will erode the soul.

The remaining 120 battle-hardened and war-weary men of the 2nd Maine, whose regiment was disbanded, were under threat of firing squad for mutiny when the commanding General Meade ordered them assigned to the 20th Maine, commanded by Lt Col Joshua Chamberlain. Lt Col Chamberlain would describe them as “…a strange pathetic spectacle. Dusty, dirty, ragged men, heads down, faces down… more exhausted than mutinous… no threat… merely enormously weary.” These men were scarred, they had endured 11 engagements. They were tired of the war, they wanted it to end; they did not want to be part of it any longer.

For Chamberlain, an honorable man, a good man, having them shot was never an option. Instead he fed them, he listened to them, and he was honest with them. Chamberlain would muse “how do you force a man to fight? For freedom? The idiocy of the jargon… We are an army going out to set other men free.” It was this rhetoric and treatment of these “mutinous” men that lifted the war weariness and inspired them to fight once more. At just 250 men, the 20th Maine increased their strength to nearly 400, which would allow them to secure the Union’s flank on 3 July 1863 from the Confederate’s assault on Little Round Top.

My battle with weariness comes from living four states away from my wife and kids. I increasingly lose motivation and my attitude becomes toxic as each day passes, and I’m not with them. It is difficult to focus on Him as the enemy establishes a stronghold. Thankfully, I am able to endure because my brothers rally to support me and remind me to focus on Him. Additionally, my commander permits me to take leave as often as the mission permits. And above all, I find peace in prayer.

We will feel exhausted, worn, and tired in the battles we face in our lives. We are always wondering what lies ahead–planning, preparing, and anticipating what comes next. We set destinations and conditions, telling ourselves “if I can just do this” or “make it this far” only to arrive and start anew. It is wearisome.

Training: Even those who know the Truth and walk closely with God, who believes in Him and in His power, get weary. As Kingdom Men we are meant for relationships: husbands, fathers, brothers; not meant to do this life alone. Like Moses in Exodus 17, relying on Aaron and Hur to overcome the weariness and ensure victory for God’s people while doing battle with the Amalekites, help others when they become weary. Keep eyes on Him and seek your brothers when you become weary. God is stronger than any enemy and greater than any battle.