There are days that I'm fatigued. Every tragedy and crisis requires emotional energy. Bad news is a burden assumed by the head and heart. At some point, compassion fatigue sets in. We turn numb to violence, pain, and death.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims . . ." It is a pre-packaged catchphrase that rings hollow because we can't find words that really help. So what do we do when we're fatigued by bad news?
Bear Burden Together
It is dangerous to live life alone. We are designed to be dependent - on God and others. The task of burden-bearing is a key work of the Christian church.
Martin Luther once wrote: "To love does not mean to wish someone else well, but to bear someone else’s burdens . . . Therefore a Christian must have broad shoulders and husky bones to carry the weakness of brothers and sisters." Share, confide, and walk with a brother or sister in Christ.
"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge" (Ps. 16:1). God is regularly described as a place of refuge. He himself is our safety and rest. Certainly we find refuge in his word, in worship, and the gifts he gives.
In this vein, it is also necessary to build in moments of rest. We need a refuge of time and space. Take a break from the news. Unplug the internet in the evenings. Schedule a day to power down and go outside.
Groan and Sign
God invites fatigued prayers. He never tires, sleeps, or slumbers. He longs to hear the cries of the tired and desperate. Paul acknowledges times where prayer is more of a groan than discernible language. "For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Rom. 8:26).
Jesus told the story of a desperate widow who was "persistent" in calling upon a judge for justice. Luke opens the account by saying, “And Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1). Be relentless as you throw yourself at his feet.
Lord, have mercy . . .
Have mercy . . .
Lord . . .