“Second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running, whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion.” – Wikipedia
I meet lots of people who are weary today. Many of them are fellow baby boomers, who get tired more easily than in their younger days.
But weariness is an epidemic affecting people of all ages, and often it has little to do with physical stamina. The weariness is typically more emotional, spiritual, and relational than physical.
I’m referring to a weariness that goes beyond anything Starbucks or Red Bull can cure. Can you relate?
When that kind of weariness hits, it makes us want to quit…give up…throw in the towel…or simply curl up in the fetal position. As General George Patton once observed, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
Marathon runners experience this. Usually around mile 20 they “hit the wall,” feeling like their energy has vanished and they can’t possibly run another step. There seems no hope of making it to the finish line at mile 26.2.
Yet long-distance runners often testify that something magical happens if they press on a little farther. Just when it seems the race has been lost, they suddenly get their “second wind.”
I need a second wind today, don’t you?
Some days I just want to quit. Other days I think I have just enough energy to sprint a little further until I keel over. But what I need is simply a second wind—energy enough to complete the race, all the way to the finish line.
Fortunately, Jesus understands that life is a marathon, and He offers a second wind to those who’ve hit the wall:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Whenever I read this beautiful promise, I’m struck by Jesus’ offer to provide “rest for your souls.” When my body is tired, I can simply take a nap or a vacation. Although those solutions may be helpful, they fall far short of what I truly need: rest and refreshing that penetrates all the way to my soul.
Another stunning thing about Jesus’ offer is that it’s not a 3-point or 5-point self-help plan, so common today in our sermons, articles, and books. Instead, it just has ONE central point, on which everything else depends: “Come to me…”
This promise of Jesus was foreshadowed by another great Bible passage about what we can do when we hit the wall and are weary of life:
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary…
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
Notice that “even youths”—not just the elderly or baby boomers—“will become weak and tired” and “fall in exhaustion.” But the good news is that God offers us a second wind, “new strength,” when we cast our burdens on Him and spend time in His presence.
Too many Christians are relying upon the “wind” they received at their conversion, often several decades ago. No wonder we run out of steam when we do that.
What we need, instead, is a fresh infilling with the wind of the Holy Spirit. That kind of “second wind” will change everything.