Proverbs 24:10, 15
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
We have all of us to expect -
I. THE TESTING TIME THAT COMES TO ALL MEN. It is true that prosperity has its own perils, and makes its own demands on the human spirit. But when the sky is clear above us, when loving friends stand round us with protecting care, when privileges abound on every side, it is comparatively easy to maintain an equable and obedient mind. We can all row with the stream and sail with the favouring wind. But the hour must come to us that comes to all in time, when we have to face difficulty, or to bear obloquy, or to sustain heavy loss, or to go on our way with a lonely heart, or to suffer some keen and all but crusading disappointment. When we are moved to say with Jacob, "All these things are against me;" with Elijah, "Lord, take away my life;" we faint and fall in the day of adversity.
II. THE RESOURCES THAT SHOULD BE AT OUR COMMAND. When that hour comes to us, as it certainly will, we should be prepared to bear ourselves bravely and well; for there are many sources of strength with which we should be supplied. There is:
1. Ordinary human fortitude. Such manliness and strength of will as have enabled many thousands of souls - even without any aid from religion - to confront danger or death, or to show an undisturbed equanimity of mind. in the midst of severe sorrows. But beyond this there is for us:
2. Christian resignation. The willingness to leave the whole disposal of our lives to the wisdom and the love of God; readiness to endure the holy will of a Divine Father, of our best Friend.
3. Christian faith. The assurance that God is dealing with us in perfect wisdom and parental love at those times when we can least understand his way.
4. Christian hope. The confidence that "unto the upright there will arise light in the darkness;" that God will grant a happy issue out of all our afflictions; that though the just man fall seven times, he will rise again (see ver. 15); that though weeping may endure even for a long and stormy night, joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
5. Communion with God. To the distressed human spirit there remains that most precious refuge, the leaning of the heart on God, the appeal of the soul to him in earnest, believing prayer.
III. THE INFERENCE WE ARE OBLIGED TO DRAW. If, with all these resources at our command, we "faint;"
(1) if we indulge a rebellious spirit, repining at our lot and thinking ourselves hardly used; or
(2) if we yield ourselves to misery and melancholy, showing ourselves unequal to the duties that devolve upon us, resigning the useful activities in which we have been engaged; - then we must conclude that "our strength is small;" we have failed to enrich our souls with that spiritual power of which we might and should have become possessed. Bat that we may not have to deplore our weakness in the day of adversity, and that we may not give a sorry illustration of Christian life as it ought not to be seen, let us learn what is -
IV. OUR WISDOM AT THE PRESENT TIME. And that is to be gaining strength, to be continually becoming "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." This is an imperative duty (Ephesians 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Peter 3:18). And we are not without the necessary means. If, in the days of sunshine and prosperity, we are daily nourishing our faith, our love, our hope, our prayerfulness, by constant exercise in devotion and in sacred duty, by using the privileges so amply supplied to us, by cultivating and cherishing our onion with Jesus Christ our Lord, we shall be strong, and we shall not faint. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.