The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught (Isaiah 50:4).
The above passage is one of the servant songs in Isaiah that describe the coming messiah. What I find interesting, and helpful, is how he is described as two things: one who speaks as one who has been taught, and one who is able to sustain the weary with his speech.
The connection this passage makes between listening and sustaining the weary should be obvious, and yet it is well that we are reminded. Those who would seek to sustain the weary must be people who listen—certainly to God, but also to others. Then, having listened, they are able to speak—as people who have been taught. In fact, this appears to be the reason for the Lord giving a tongue that has been taught, in order that he may know how to sustain the weary.
Abortion generates much heat in our culture. For many in the pro-life movement, lines are firmly drawn in the sand, positions are steadfastly held, arguments thought through and presented. And that is a good thing. Yet when a matter is so dearly held, it becomes easy to forget to listen. And listening is very important, especially when it comes to abortion, for abortion is an “issue” (there must be a better word for it) that is deeply personal, and painful, for many. We can never lose by listening.
Listening does not imply weakness. On the contrary, it implies strength, the kind of strength that is willing to be stretched, knowing that God is firmly in control of this lost world, and that I have much to learn. And while the picture of the unyielding and unthinking pro-lifer is largely a caricature, in the main, nonetheless we do well to remind ourselves that abortion involves people—people like you and me (and perhaps even you and me)—who need, and deserve, to be listened to. And who are often very weary. Jesus did not waver when it came to standing with the vulnerable. Jesus also knew how to sustain the weary with a word, for he spoke with a tongue that had been taught.