The weariness wove its tendrils through me, dragging me down without asking permission.
It had been weeks of radiation, surgery, and chemo. My new ostomy bag gurgled and churned, interrupting the awkward silence, and there I lay on the PET scan table, valiantly losing a staring contest with the dirty white ceiling tiles above me — my hospital gown scratching as it tried to reveal more of me than was decent.
Would the radiologist find constellations of tumors lighting up my lungs like the ones my mum and sister had battled? Had the family heat-seeking missile of death locked in on me?
Let’s just say I wasn’t my happiest, skippiest self that day. I was weary, worried, and quite honestly, over it.
Earlier, as I sipped my morning tea, I’d laughed as I read Isaiah 42:10: “Sing to God a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth!”
Yeah right, I thought. Like that’s going to happen today.
Have you ever laughed at Scripture? Not because it’s funny but because the chances of you putting it into action are as likely as a teenage boy spontaneously showering.
Isaiah 42:10 is a call to sing a new song; to raise our voices, rejoice, sing for joy, shout from the mountain tops, and proclaim His praise from this little green spinning planet. But when life’s gone belly up and we’re struggling to get through the day, it’s not quite so simple or easy.
Many of us find ourselves feeling more weary and worried than overflowing with worship and wonder. Financial worries, grief, loss, parenting struggles, or a fragile marriage, among many other unnamed cares, can weigh us down and leave us crippled.
It’s tempting to think Isaiah 42:10 is a text for when life is all rainbows and butterflies, not stress and struggle. But it’s exactly moments like this — when life is hard, we’re tired and want things to change — that this text is for. It’s a rally cry for times of darkness, suffering, weariness, waiting, apathy, and doubt.
It’s a call that doesn’t stop because it’s been a tough year and we can’t think of anything to give thanks and praise for. It’s a call that doesn’t stop because we’ve been diagnosed, lost a loved one, or discovered our teen is cutting.
No matter how weary or worried you are, I want to encourage you to read Isaiah 42:1-17 where we find this call from the Lord spoken through the prophet to the people of Israel.
Because here’s the thing…
When Isaiah spoke these words to the people of Israel, they hadn’t just won a big victory. They hadn’t seen a huge God-miracle play out before them or enjoyed years of plenty and security. Nope, quite the opposite. They were a broken and enslaved people. The golden age of Hezekiah, with its economic and religious stability, was over. Israel was again in captivity to the Babylonians and the people were bone-weary, worn out, and worried beyond belief.
Yet in the middle of these tough times, God calls them to sing a new song — to burst forth in joy, hope, and peace in the darkness.
Notice, He doesn’t say, “When life’s good again you’ll be able to sing a new song to me.” Instead, He calls them (and us) to sing a new song right where we are, right now.
Even in a hospital gown on the PET scan table.
So that’s what I did. Kind of.
I quietly hummed “It’s your breath in my lungs and I pour out my praise to you only.” And as I did, my hum became a mumble which rose to a soft song of praise that echoed out from the depths of the scanner.
To worship through my weariness and worry was an act of defiance against my cancer, and the worry-filled exhaustion seeping through my core.
It said, “God, You are good, even when life isn’t. I trust You even when I can’t see what’s ahead, and You love me despite my feeling alone.”
I want to encourage you today, no matter what you’re facing or how tired and anxious you are, that the call Isaiah gave the Israelites is ours today. As we sing a new song, we exchange our weariness and worry for wonder and worship. We find God in our darkest places.
Will you sing a new song with me today?
I’ll be the one with the bags under her eyes, belting “It’s Your breath in my lungs,” slightly off-key.