A Bible verse that has meant a lot to me lately is Isaiah 50:4:
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…
The verse is part of the third “servant song” of the great prophet Isaiah and describes the ministry of Jesus. It reminds me of my friend, Will Gray.
For starters, there is that phrase “servant song” or “song of the servant.” It ultimately refers to Jesus who came “not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). And I think of the way Jesus’ little brother, Will, served us with his songs. His music was service -– a giving of himself so that we might take courage against the darkness, might find hope in the rubble of our lives. I cannot count the times that I have turned to Will’s music when I needed a word, a melody to lift me, to tell me that I am not alone, to remind me of the beauty that surrounds but from which I am tempted to withdraw. His music was and is a service.
But that was Will’s professional life. Personally, he was an embodiment to me of a friend who “sustains with a word him who is weary.” Again like his elder brother, Jesus, Will knew how to give courage and strength to his friends. On more than one occasion in the last year, I sat in a hospital room with Will, his weight and strength declining, losing the physical strength that had once been so great. And as we talked not only did he refuse to make it all about him, he asked about me, about Allison, about my life. And he spoke into my life. Weak and dying though he was, he was still sustaining me with his words, giving courage to me. I, a pastor, had gone to sustain him who was weary only to find myself sustained.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Will was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. I consider it a privilege to have called him my friend. I miss him dearly. God have mercy on all of us.
Much love, Marshall