“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.”
Isaiah 50:4 NIV
Isaiah 50:4 is a life verse for me in my ministry. I have spent many years searching the wisdom of the Bible in order to have a good word for the person in pain and—among other things—a kindly rebuke for the believer who has wondered away from the path of obedience. Various times I have been asked by people for a word of wisdom they can give a friend who is suffering.
I recall a 10 year old boy who was dying asking me if there were dogs in heaven. He was missing his dog back home many miles from the hospital. He had not yet acknowledged directly that he was dying but he was concerned to know that when he went to heaven would it be a comfortable happy place where he might have a dog as a pet.
In seminary we did not take a course on heaven and all its features, so I had to learn for myself if there were dogs in heaven. Thankfully the Lord brought to my mind that day Romans 5 where we read that the second Adam (Jesus Christ) won for his people a new heaven and a new earth just like the one the first Adam lost.
In the first Eden all the animals we know now were there and so I assured the boy that yes indeed there were dogs in heaven. The young fellow seemed comforted in the notion that heaven was filled with familiar things to make us happy.
It may be that you wish to know a comforting word for a friend who is suffering one way or another. There is no better place to find words of comfort than in Scripture. The person who is weary because of some “thorn in the flesh” will find comfort in reading about how Paul dealt with his “thorn in the flesh”.
You may wish a word for someone upset at the unfairness of life. Turning them to Psalm 73 can give them much food for thought.
Or you may be visiting the bereaved. Mentioning Jesus’ tears at the grave of Lazarus can help the suffering ones to realize that there are tears in heaven for them at such a time because Jesus is the same forever.
On it goes as we use the light of Scripture to shine on the dark road of people in pain. If you are looking for a promise in the Bible to leave with someone who suffers but you cannot find the right word, ask your pastor for help. He will direct you to the appropriate passage of Scripture that will bring light instead of darkness, peace in the place of turmoil. May you find grace today to give a “word in season” that will lift up the downcast and bring hope in the place of fear.