‘A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.’ – Proverbs 17.22From Toni Clark:
Have you noticed how the days are getting longer? We are coming out of the darkness of winter and there are signs of spring all around. A couple of weeks ago I was out for my daily walk, it had been snowing the previous couple of days and the fields were still covered with a light white blanket. It was bitterly cold but it was a bright sunny day – a beautiful blue sky without a cloud to be seen and I could see and hear lots of birds singing. I love days like that, lovely crisp cold, and signs that spring is on the way. There were clumps of snowdrops in people’s gardens and even a few crocuses blossoming in spite of the cold – it was just glorious and filled my heart with joy and it just made me smile (I would say it put a spring in my step – but it was very icy underfoot so I was walking carefully!!). But that happy feeling reminded me of this proverb – a joyful heart is good medicine.
When we feel happy, full of joy, it does lift our spirits. Things don’t feel so hard and challenging, it is like a good medicine which makes us feel better when we are poorly.
The opposite is also true, a crushed spirit dries up the bones. It’s now about a year since the first lockdown. I don’t think any of us anticipated that we would still be in this position after so long and for many it has been and still is very hard. Some are feeling crushed by the restrictions, sad at not being able to see friends and family, under pressure with home schooling or caring responsibilities. It all feels so difficult and you can feel your spirit being crushed.
In that situation it is hard to be joyful, to lift your spirit. But can I encourage you, that if you are feeling like that, to think about something which does bring you joy, that lifts your spirit. Giving thanks to God for things in our lives is a way of finding joy, reminding ourselves that even in the hard times he is with us and all around us. It could be memories of fun times with family and friends, or looking forward to when we can be together again, or just going outside and giving thanks to God for the beauty of creation as it wakes from its winter slumber. What makes you feel a little joy in your heart, makes you feel a little better and leads you to praise and give thanks to God?