It always seems that my truck is out of gas. I’m constantly pulling into the gas station to fill its thirsty gas-tank. Just as often, my computer battery runs down. And my mp-3 player dies. Light-bulbs always seem to burn out in our house. The propane tank runs dry twice each year. Before I can blink, our refrigerator is empty because our sons and daughter never seem to eat enough to satisfy them, in their frantic, vertical race for adulthood.
Of course, it’s all an issue of energy. And energy runs down, as a general rule, because we actually use it. I drive to work and drive my children where they need to go. I listen to lectures on my mp-3 player. My kids need energy to grow. I use lights to read. I burn propane to heat our rooms and our water. There is a lack of energy because energy is continually used up in life.
At the end of every shift, every week, every day in the clinic or OR, we physicians come home and feel tired. Our batteries burn down. Our tanks run dry. I wonder if this is the essence of burn-out. Maybe, it’s largely a matter of energy. It’s no surprise. The universe is running down, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy so far seems to rule, both in the physical world and, it appears, in the human heart and mind.
On a practical level, it’s no wonder we’re exhausted. Every day is a day of walking, talking, reducing dislocations, opening chests or abdomens, intubating, examining the sick and dying, talking with families, arguing with insurers, reaching inside for compassion, thinking through complex disease processes, watching suffering and death, filling out paperwork, maintaining our families, maintaining our practice and endless other activities.
Are we surprised, then, that many physicians are angry, frustrated…even bitter? Their fuel gauges are on empty. Their batteries are dead. They are running on nothing more than simple inertia; and when they stop, they rest in inertia, unable to re-start.
But those of us who are believers in Christ have an advantage; and it’s one we should recommend to everyone we know. We have access to endless energy. Yes, we may become weary, but we can recharge. And over time, our battery capacity grows greater, our fuel tank larger.
Why? Because we know and accept the God of the Universe. The source of all energy. If we accept the words of scripture; if (as Del Tackett of The Truth Project says) we ‘really believe that what we believe is really real,’ then we worship the Creator of every sun, every pulsar, every bit of cosmic background radiation and dark energy, every ocean current or wind current, every bit of boiling magma or flaming hydrogen, every hint of gravity, every weak or strong nuclear force.
And we worship the source of all love, all courage, all hope, all faith, all desire, all knowledge and wisdom. The source of every form of energy is our Father, our Savior our Redeemer! We may be weak, but we are can be strong in Him. We may be beaten down, but we can rise up.
He dwells in us. In effect, when we were born into new life with our salvation, we were given a new energy source. And it is an amazing one! See what the Bible says:
‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18
However tired we may be, we are being slowly but surely transformed into the likeness of our source of strength.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’ Ephesians 3: 20-21
If you think you can’t get things done, and don’t have the will or power to go on, remember that Christ is able to do just what the word says…’more than all we ask or imagine,’ through the power that is (and this is amazing) ‘at work within us.’
‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.’ ‘Romans 8:11
However weary our work makes us, the Holy Spirit dwells in and gives life to us. No call night, and no life-draining encounter can trump that.
‘I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.’
Dear ones, fellow travelers, colleagues, brothers and sisters, the power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that lives in you, day in and day out. So, no matter how tired you may be, no matter how low your battery may run, you are constantly drawing more strength from the source of all strength. The God who made you, who delivers you and who will usher you into eternity.
So don’t despair. You can put gas in the car, charge the battery and fill the refrigerator. And if you ask, the God of the universe will continue to fill you until your own energy gauge says ‘full.’
God bless you wildly and richly,