The Word That Sustains the Weary


The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (Isaiah 50:4)

Evangelical commentator Charles Colson once contacted a radio station that had dropped his program hoping to get it reinstated.  His program, BreakPoint, was intended to help listeners develop a better Christian worldview.

“I called the station manager, arguing that believers need to think Christianly about major world issues. The young woman on the other end of the phone admonished me: ‘But we don’t want to do anything that will upset our listeners.’ Younger women, she said, want ‘something to help them cope with life.'”

This view was confirmed by a Christian homemaker interviewed for a TV special on evangelicalism. She is so busy, she explained, taking care of the kids, family activities, Bible study, cooking, etc., that she doesn’t even read the newspaper or care what is happening in the world around her. Church for her is getting her spirits lifted.

Colson framed the issue this way: “Should we give people what they want or what they need?”

So long as there is a difference between “what the people want” and “what the people need,” Christian integrity demands that we give them what they need.

But that suggests another question: What is our great spiritual need?

There is no doubt that we Christians need to develop a more Christian, Biblical worldview. The less we have, the more we live lives inconsistent with our faith. But the ability to properly evaluate current events, political rhetoric and movements, and pressing moral questions does not address our deepest human need.

You see, at the heart of a Christian worldview is Christ. A Christian worldview sees more than problems in the world around me. It sees the problem of sin within me. It sees Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as the solution. It looks to a perfect heaven beyond this incorrigible world as the ultimate goal. In other words, it looks to the gospel to fill our deepest needs.

Nor is Christianity primarily about getting our spirits lifted. I can often find a needed psychological or emotional lift in a good movie, some pop music, an evening out, or good conversation with friends just as well as in church or on the radio. My real spiritual need is to be in touch with the life-giving Spirit, who directs our attention again to Jesus and his saving work.

And where will we find that Spirit? Jesus himself promises, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).

Jesus knows what we need. He is speaking directly through Isaiah here when he says he “knows the word that sustains the weary.”

The Word that sustains the weary is, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are all forgiven.”

“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life. No one can snatch them out of my hands.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

“…neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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