“You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, ‘It is hopeless’; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint” (Isaiah 57:10).
At first you think this verse is commending godly people. You are ready to join in the praise for their perseverance in the face of weariness and their stalwart refusal to say, “It is hopeless,” though everything inside them wants to give up.
But then you read the context, and you find a more detailed description of the persons in question: “son of the sorceress,” “offspring of the adulterer,” “mocking … [you] stick out your tongue,” “offspring of deceit,” “pour[ing] out a drink offering” to “your collection of idols.”
This leaves you baffled, because you realize the persons being addressed are “wearied” because of their own moral dissipation and empty life—they are not weary from doing good. And the things they are adamantly not giving up on as hopeless are their evil habits and desires and idols. Somehow, in spite of the fact that these autonomous life choices are not working for them, they persevere in them—an ignoble kind of heroism indeed.
There is a weariness abroad in this land. One hears it in the cashier’s voice, in the women’s coffee klatch. People waking up every morning with no meaning, people suffering in their bodies and in their relationships, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
People surround themselves with hobbies or shopping to pass the time. But there is always the problem of diminishing returns. So one fashion gives way to another, or one romantic partner to another. I know a young man who just broke up with his girlfriend of three years. He was telling me that life had lost its savor and his heart was no longer in his work. But soon he spotted a pretty young thing at a concert and it revived him a bit. There’s nothing like a new heartthrob to fill the void, and to chase away the weariness.
Too bad, though. If the young man could only hold off a while and not jump into the next intimate entanglement, God might deepen the weariness all the way to despair, and to crying out for salvation. For the weariness of this world is by design, to drive our hearts to seek the springs of living water.