A Kind Word of Cheer

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

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I heard someone make the remark recently that he dreads hearing the news everyday because of all the horrible and crazy things that are going on in our world. I agree with that observation. From across the world and sometimes even across the road we abide in a world that can overload us with anxieties. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us that “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (New International Version). How true!

Back when I was much younger, I was able to physically carry some pretty heavy loads, some of which probably weighed more than I did myself at the time; for a teenager there is a lot that a young man wants to prove about his abilities. But things are different now, I have no interest in proving my strength, and if there is a fit young fellow nearby who is willing to handle the heavy stuff I am not too proud to let him. The older I get the more I submit to the wisdom of working smarter, not harder.

There are some loads in life, however, that are not of the material sort that can weigh us down in a deeper way than any object we might be lifting. In our day, the heaviness of the worries of life is indeed like huge weights on our hearts and minds. Thankfully, as Proverbs 12 assures us, there is a source of cheer that lifts up the burdened soul; when one is down and low a cheerful word goes a long way in providing hope.

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As we exit the Easter observance for another year, the Biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ provides us a look at both heaviness of heart and a cheerful word. Early on that first Easter Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where the Lord was buried, her heart became heavy with anxiety and grief when she discovered that He was not there. It was horrible enough that she had witnessed His painful death, and then to find what appeared to be a grave robbed of the body that was placed there was almost more than she could bear. Her hope was dashed again as heaviness of heart consumed her emotions. As she remained outside the empty tomb, all she could do was stand there and weep.

While none of us have experienced the exact thing she did that morning, we can probably identify with the heaviness of anxiety that she encountered. And we understand to some degree the accumulation of adversity that she experienced through the death of the One that she loved so dearly and His disappearance from the grave. Heaviness often works that way as disappointments pile up like huge boulders on our emotional shoulders with no relief in sight. That makes for a dark and hopeless view of life.

In such a time as that, when the heaviness of loss is bearing down on the heart and pushing it toward the breaking point, as Proverbs 12 states, a kind word brings cheer. That is exactly what the resurrected Lord provided for her.

During that event Christ said several things to Mary, yet there was one word of cheer that proved to be the turning point that lifted her out of the depths of sorrow and brought joy that surpassed anything she had experienced before. What was that one word that He spoke that changed the entire situation for her? “Jesus said to her, “’Mary’” (John 20:16). By simply calling her name and she hearing that familiar voice, peace filled her heart. A simple kind word went a long way, for it was personal, it was real, and it was life changing.

None of us will experience what Mary did that morning, but we can all receive release from the heaviness of life as we allow our Lord to remind us of His personal nearness and care for us. In your moments of heaviness of heart, allow God to speak peace to you through His Word and by His Spirit. He knows you by name and He is personally concerned about your needs.