We had scarcely got settled into a cottage by Mobile Bay when Harley came over to welcome us. Harley is a Golden Retriever from next door. He is a nice old dog and considers himself to be the unofficial greeter for the B&B where we were staying. Harley is badly crippled. He was injured in an accident playing ball, and his back legs were heavily damaged. For a while he couldn’t walk. Gradually, he has learned to walk again with an uneven gate and a wobble. When he tries to run, he just hops.
After a short meet-and-greet session, Harley disappeared. He came back carrying a yellow tennis ball in his mouth. He wanted to play ball. At that point, his owner asked us to resist throwing the ball, even if Harley persistently begged. She told us, “Harley still wants to play fetch, but he isn’t able.” She was afraid he would hurt himself trying. Poor old Harley, ‘the spirit is willing, but the body is weak’.
We often use that phrase as a rueful admission of weariness or other physical weakness. This idiom was first recorded in the New Testament (Matthew 26:41), where Jesus tells his disciples, “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I can say that I understand the scripture, and I can relate with Harley more with each passing day. I also identify with Psalm 37:35: “I have been young, and now am old.” There are so many things that my mind tells me I can still do, but my body tells a different story.
There is an economy and design in God’s kingdom. There are tasks for the young and also things for the old or physically weak to do. While I may not be able to do many of the physical tasks I’d like to do, I can still “watch and pray”. I can be thankful and pleasant. God’s word says, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him” (Psalm 92:14-15, NIV).
Prayer: Lord, many of us still want to “play ball”. May we bear fruit in our in our times of weakness or in old age. We want to bear spiritual fruit – “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 6:22-23, NKJV).
~ Brother Roy