“Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.” Isaiah 35:3
Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 34:1-16
In all flocks there must be lambs, and weak and wounded sheep, and among the flock of men, it seems that there must necessarily be some who should more than others prove the truth of Job’s declaration, “man is born to trouble, even as the sparks fly upwards.” It is the duty then of those of us who are more free than others from despondency of spirit, to be very tender to these weak ones. Far be it from the man of courageous disposition, of stern resolve, and of unbending purpose, to be hard towards those who are timid and despairing. If we have a lion-like spirit, let us not imitate the king of beasts in his cruelty to those timid fallow deer that fly before him, but let us place our strength at their service for their help and protection. Let us with downy fingers bind up the wounded heart; with oil and wine let us nourish their fainting spirits. In this battle of life, let the unwounded warriors bear their injured comrades to the rear, bathe their wounds, and cover them from the storm of war. Be gentle with those that are despondent. Alas, it is not every man that has learned this lesson. There are some who deal with others with rough-handed thoughtlessness. “Ah,” they say, “if such a one be so foolish as to be sensitive let him be.” O speak not thus; to be sensitive, timid, and despondent, is ill enough in itself, without our being hard and harsh towards those who are so afflicted. Go forth, and “do to others as ye would that they should do to you” and as ye would that others should in your hours of despondency deal with you tenderly and comfortably, so deal tenderly and comfortably with them.
For meditation: It is not very clever to add insult to injury. “Don’t be so silly; cheer up, it may never happen,” is not much help to someone when it has already happened! God has told us what to do with the weak (Romans 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Sermon no. 243
20 March (1859)