Proverbs 17; Solomon on good medicine

It is refreshing to have age old insight remind us of important principles in the application of modern medicine.  In verse 22 Solomon states, “a joyful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones”.  It is easy to lose sight of our attitudes and outlooks playing a role in health.  Joy, fueled by faith, does produce health benefits; healthier choices for diet, exercise and activities, better energy through reduced stress and improved sleep, a paced and tempered approach to managing the tasks (stressful or not) of life and stronger more supportive relationships.  Conversely, a “broken spirit dries up the bones”.  I do not think this is referring to a novel cause for osteoporosis but rather a figurative illustration of a life devoid of joy.  These are the “culturally walking wounded”; those among us that are so frazzled and stressed by cultural pressures, competition and beat downs that they start to lose hope, purpose and vigor.  All of us “bearing the weight” of surviving and living in our culture feel this from time to time, but if left unchecked it can have real physiologic and emotional consequences captured in the pathos of “drying bones”.  So where do we turn to build the joy “to keep our bones healthy”.  Paul, in Philippians 2:1-2, captures the essence of a life that builds joy through faith.   The pharmacology of modern medicine also helps when the physiologic becomes affected.  But realize that lifestyle changes that promote joy can not be replaced by pharmacology alone.


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