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Medication for a failing spirit

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Today’s bible study is Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I think this psalm might have been written when I walked down a steep hill in the city one evening recently. My knee, which suffered years of use and abuse from ballet and basketball, was in open rebellion. I was very aware that my flesh was failing me. Yes, as we age especially, our hearts and our bodies will surely begin to fail and ultimately fail altogether.

The drugstores and pharmacies are full of medications for our failing bodies. We can take glucosamine and chondroitin for our joints, levothyroxine for faltering thyroids and metoprolol for hypertension. We can treat diabetes quite effectively with insulin and cleanse our bodies with dialysis. And, through it all, we can do our best to be brave and hide our tears and frustration. We can improve our conditions, mask our frailties, and continue on with the business of living.

But, if the strength of God in our hearts falters, we would have nothing as Christians. We would have no faith to rely on, no promise to hope for, and no glory and mystery to pray about. But if God is the strength of our hearts, He will remain so forever. He will never need a pill. He will never have to be restarted by electroshock. We cannot resuscitate Him with CPR. God, very simply, is. We cannot completely understand it, we cannot completely appreciate it and we cannot completely accept it in many instances. God is in our hearts, if we allow Him to be, all through the days of our lives and even until eternity.

So, the next time you feel a twinge of arthritis and a backache, the next time you notice a wrinkle or wake to a leg cramp, remember this: our flesh will fail, but the love of God in our hearts will never fail. It is as sure as the tides and as eternal as the sunrise. Whether we know it or not, God is waiting to fill our hearts with a spiritual health and happiness that has no weaknesses.

This psalm speaks of our portion as if a certain amount is meted out to each of us when we believe and become Christians and followers of Jesus. Does each of us have a tiny portion of God’s strength in our hearts, or is God’s strength so vast and so huge that it can fill every one of us to overflowing? I think that each of us does have a small portion, perhaps meted out by a teaspoon that is planted within us before we are even born. It is up to each of us whether we want to find, acknowledge and nurture this portion or not. If we do not acknowledge God, if we do not try to follow the Christian path, it may never be noticed.

If, on the other hand, we begin to learn about Jesus and His wondrous ways as children and continue our journey of faith as adults, ever seeking, ever reaching, ever questioning, ever praying and ever striving, we will find and nurture our portion and it will thrive and grow. Every time we perform a Christian act, pass along a simply kindness, give a bit to those less fortunate, or seclude ourselves for a moment of prayerfulness, it grows. Like a tree, it grows larger and larger until it fills out hearts with a hugeness that is incomprehensible to us. This is the portion of strength and love given to us by God.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur, Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor

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