Today, December 9th, is one of the hundreds of unusual, wacky, national holidays promoted on special calendars.
Today is “Weary Willie Day.”
This day is named after the sad-sack, down on his luck clown made famous by Emmett Kelly who was born on this day in 1898.
Kelly created Weary Willie at a time when the goofy white-faced clown was the norm. Most circus operators were skeptical the public would buy into a depressed clown.
But circumstances changed with the Great Depression. Weary, depressed and downtrodden was the face of the nation. People could identify with rumpled, beaten down by the world, hobo clown and his struggles. He was a loveable character who made people laugh.
Kelly’s daughter said about her father, “People cared about Willie and his struggles. They saw that no matter how hard he took it on the chin, Willie never gave up.”
The “Weary Willie” mood is a challenge we can all relate to. While the Bible often admonishes, “Be not weary,” the obvious reality is that we all do get weary. The book of Job describes in detail the weariness of his life. Numerous times King David expressed his inner turmoil saying, “I am weary.” The prophet Jeremiah admitted that he became physically, mentally and emotionally weary.
There are times that life beats us down. Problems abound. Obstacles seem to multiply. We run out of money before we run out of month. A relationship turns sour. A trusted friend betrays us. The doctor says, “I have some bad news from your lab tests.” We get that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night.
Then when it seems that things can’t get any worse, and we turn to a brother or sister in Christ for encouragement and consolation and like David, we lament, “No one cares for my soul” (Ps. 142:4).
However, it is important to note that David did not quit. He did not allow weariness to defeat him and drive him away from God. When others failed him, he looked to the Lord for help, strength, and encouragement.
I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
God sent His Son into the world, not only to save us from our sins but to give us an example of how to live. He overcame temptation, trial, and trouble. He experienced weariness but persevered to provide for us help, hope and the determination to keep on keeping on.
His great invitation is to those whose wearied souls are burdened with sin and suffering.
“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)
Perseverance is the antidote to weariness. “Perseverance is not” as, Walter Elliott expressed it, “one long race; it is many short races one after another.” It is hanging in there for another day. Maybe sometimes it is hour by hour. But it will get you from one moment to the next.
In the throes of weariness, remember that your life is not futile. It counts because God cares. And He has a purpose for you and the burden you’re bearing.
Your failures are not fatal. You can come back. Begin again. And start over. “Hope springs eternal” when we trust in the Lord.
And your death is final. There’s a great day coming when we will lay our burdens down and be free from the weariness of the flesh. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. And He promises rest and relief from the cares and heartaches we suffer.
Don’t give in. Don’t give out. Don’t give up.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman