The Peril of the Feeble

Lewis Willis
Kirkwood, Missouri

Nothing more quickly arouses the sympathies of men than beholding the tragic peril of the feeble. These lack the essential qualities of physical health and strength to vigorously pursue the joys of living. They have, through disease or injury, become a burden both to themselves and their loved ones who patiently care for, them.

I vividly remember an uncle, stricken by an arthritic condition, to which the passing years brought the discomforts of feebleness. He was a small man and the relentless disease methodically drew his body forward until his eyes were naturally focused in the region of his feet. If he tried to straighten his drawn body, he was painfully reminded of the grasp the dreaded disease had upon him.

In our rural community, it was common to frequently pass his house and on pretty days, he sat out front. We always called to him or blew the car horn but the effort was too painful for him to even look in our direction. The towering pines, under which he sat, were not scaled by his eyes, except perhaps in his fondest memories of days past. "Uncle Bud," enslaved in feebleness, was mercifully called to the grave several years ago. Yet, one is made to realize that there are thousands of "Uncle Buds" throughout the land. Their pain and discomfort bring hours of sorrow to them and many tears of sympathy from those who love them.

But, there is another state of feebleness that is far worse than that of the body. It is the feebleness of the spiritual man. This is the diseased condition of the soul that renders every effort toward holiness a supreme effort. Worldly concerns and social pressures grasp the soul and firmly draw it away from Jehovah. If this soul strives to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, these materialistic ties cry out for more attention. Alan is caught in the grasp of two dear concerns. One is the world; the other is God. They war against each other and man's conscience writhes in pain, begging to be released from one or the other. Too often he relinquishes to the pressures of worldliness to his own damnation. Others, who have not yet given up the battles, are tottering on the brink of disaster, in a feeble condition on the verge of falling away.

We show great concern and sympathy for the physically feeble. But, what is our concern for the spiritually feeble? Do we pass them by in silence or do we pause to lend a sweet word of encouragement? They stand at the doorway of Hell. Do we not care? Our own brethren, fellow heirs with Christ and children of God are in danger of succumbing to the disease of spiritual weakness. Is our fellowship in ' this relationship so meaningless that we could care less??

"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed" (Heb. 12:12-13). Sin, which is the disease of the feeble, is portrayed as a "burden" by Paul, as a falling away from the Lord. Howbeit, he said, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). No, we cannot live faithfully and close our eyes to our brethren who are feeble in soul. We cannot shut up our bowels of compassion against them. We must lend ourselves in understanding pity to their plight and encourage them. Why not say instead, "Brother, take my hand and lean upon my shoulder and let us together make our way to the throne of God. If I stumble, you can assist me and I will be at your side to aid you if that is your need." "Now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men" (I Thess. 5:14).

January 1968