When we take the sole responsibility of leading, providing, and working upon ourselves, we tend to become slaves to our work. The anxiety this produces destroys our sleep. However, what does God give to those who don’t vainly toil day and night with an anxious spirit? Sleep. When we entrust our work and our provision to the Lord, we can lie down at night and sleep soundly knowing that God works even when we don’t.
Men face overwhelming pressures both internal and external. We feel an internal drive to provide for our families and to contribute to our communities. Whether we want to admit it or not, we struggle with the expectations other people place on us too. We have trained ourselves to ignore the nagging pain because we can’t show weakness.
Our churches often don’t know what to do with the weight men carry. Too often, we berate men for their failures without pointing them to the resourses that will help them grow. We pretend like the inadequacies we feel either don’t exist or shouldn’t be talked about in polite company. The grace we talk about fades from view and we replace it with heavy weights that sink us deeper into the abyss.
The Psalms made no sense to me when I was in college because they sounded so bleak. Here were these compositions that were supposed to be so worshipful, but the Psalmists just spent too much time complaining about how hard life was. Now that I’m in my 40s, the Psalms resonate with me because in my frustration with the difficulties of life, I’ve said many of the things they say.
If you are a man who struggles in silence, turn to the Psalms. In them, you find strong men revealing their weaknesses and showing you where you can turn to for help. There are three Psalms in particular that give you grace for the difficult situations you face.
Psalm 127, for When You Feel the Weight of the World
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” I cannot emphasize how much we need to hear this. God built men to take responsibility, work hard, protect, and provide. In our brokenness and sin, this God-given wiring can become a complex where we feel like we have to become not only our own savior but the savior of the people who rely on us as well. When we do this, we take a responsibility upon ourselves that only God can fulfill. We wear ourselves down and exhaust the people around us.
Psalm 127 does not call us to a “let go and let God” approach to life, but rather to an appropriate understanding of God’s work and our own. We work, but we realize our work accomplishes nothing if the Lord does not work through it. We work hard, start new ventures, and look for new opportunities, but we do it by entrusting the results to the Lord and praying he will give us the strength we need.
The second verse speaks a truth that every man needs to hear.