Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cheerful Hearts

 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
   but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 
--Proverbs 17:22
He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” --Ezekiel 37:3
It is interesting to speculate that the valley of dry bones described in Ezekiel 37 was there because the people's spirit had been crushed.  What kind of things crush a spirit?  I think I'll leave that question for you to ponder in your heart, as it's a personal perspective thing.  What is crushing for one person, may not be for another.  For example, loneliness for one person can become crushing, while for another being alone is bliss.

Perhaps another idea is presented in the cure for a crushed spirit from Proverbs.  Were all those people's bones dried because nobody could find a cheerful heart?  It kind of points to what a huge difference something as simple as showing a smile can be, or offering some simple courtesy.  In the Ezekiel chapter the prophet is eventually instructed to breathe on the bones and God caused them to rattle and come back to life with fully intact bodies.  The breath of life for the spirit is the act of caring that arises out of one's commitment to following God's instruction.  When one's spirit is crushed, it is often difficult to keep God close.  This is the hazard of trying to live the life of faith by yourself.  It is also incumbent on each of us to not let our cheerful hearts to be hidden under bushel baskets, but to make them apparent so that the one's spirit that was crushed might be lifted by a breath of the Holy blowing through us.

Heavenly God, keep people in our lives who have cheerful hearts and can lift us when life gets hard.  Help us to share our cheerfulness with others in appropriate ways that let's your healing flow.  Amen.

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