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God's Faithfulness In Infirmity

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
Proverbs 18:14

In Proverbs 18:14, we are told that, "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?" This basically says that when the body suffers some infirmity, the person’s spirit is able to sustain it. But if the spirit itself is afflicted, there is nothing that can bear it up.

Into the life of every person, infirmity or trouble of some sort is bound to come sooner or later. This is borne out in Job 5:7 when Eliphaz says, "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."

The word "infirmity" in Proverbs 18:14 has particular reference to disease, sickness, or weakness; it can also mean being wounded or put to pain. In most instances, people who are beset with these problems will bear up under them because their spirit is stronger and is able to sustain them through the affliction. This can be true in the life of the unsaved as well as the saved.

As believers, we have a great advantage here, because God’s spirit witnesses and works with our spirit in a day of trouble. No matter what affliction we may be going through, the Lord is able to grant us the help, strength, and comfort we need if we but ask Him and trust Him for it. We have only to look into the lives of many hymn and gospel song writers of past years to see how God sustained them through physical infirmities and enabled them to pen songs of great spiritual triumph made possible only through God's sustaining power.

By contrast, a "wounded spirit" is one that is broken or stricken; more literally, beaten or cast forth, one which is unable to be lifted up or encouraged. A broken spirit can also have a negative effect on the body and bring about a worsening of a physical condition.

As believers we can be sustained through times of infirmity by remembering that God does not send affliction into our lives to delight Himself; rather, He has a plan for our lives, and if that plan includes a time of physical or other difficulties, He will enable us to bear it, to teach us things in it, and perhaps even go on to accomplish great things through it. The Lord is always there for us, to sustain us; we don’t have to depend on our own strength. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Jerome Murphy

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