Drug addiction is a growing problem in our society today. The drugs involved are not only the illegal drugs that we know, but also the drugs that doctors prescribe for their patients. Some even take multiple types of drugs, because the main drug they are taking has side effects that need to be countered by other drugs. The sad fact is that these expensive drugs do not cure their diseases, but only serve as “maintenance.” However, there is a cheaper and better way to get healed. In the Book of Proverbs, we are told that “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22). Cheerfulness gets to the core of the problem and deals with it. Unlike maintenance drugs that are superficial, cheerfulness penetrates to the marrows of the bones and gives life to them.
A person who is cheerful is not only healed physically, but also brings healing to others. Again, the book of Proverbs tells us that “a cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones” (Prov. 15:30). Indeed, cheerfulness is contagious and will bring about healing when shared with others. No amount of negativism will dampen the spirit of one who is cheerful. Coupled with good news, cheerfulness will re-energize a man’s spirit and body.
It is a fact that many sicknesses start in the spirit. This is the reason why the second part of Proverbs 17:22 says that “a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” When one sins, his spirit is crushed and it goes down to his bones. It is interesting to note that blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. If it dries up, it will bring disorder in the body, because the Bible tells us that life is in the blood. This again confirms what Proverbs says: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Prov. 14:30). When we sin, it affects the normal functioning of our body and it starts in the bones and marrows. The bones dry up and eventually bring all kinds of sicknesses, because they are no longer producing the healthy blood that the body needs. Many times, bones that are dried up are reflected in the face when one is downcast.
When King David committed the sins of covetousness, adultery and murder, the Lord was grieved and King David felt so separated from him. These sins did not only crush his spirit, but also penetrated his bones. While he used to have a vibrant spirit and healthy bones, he found himself drying up. He cried out to God, saying, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity” (Psalm 51:7-9). It is obvious from his prayer that sin had caused him not only spiritual torment, but physical pains. Spiritually, he could no longer experience the joy of being with God. Emotionally, all he experienced was turmoil within him, which deprived him of the enjoyment of life. He described this daily torment when he said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3). He felt no peace at all, as his sins hounded him. His health was also affected and this brought added burden. For this he cried, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
Because of the healing power of a cheerful heart, the apostle Paul admonished believers to be joyful. He said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:4-5). This rejoicing is premised on the nearness of the Lord. It is always comforting to know that even in our most difficult situations, we can always count on the Lord for his deliverance. However, we should be mindful that sin will draw us away from the Lord. No amount of medicine is enough to bring healing to rotten bones, but repentance.
In this modern and highly sophisticated world we are living in, it is amazing that not one medicine has been discovered to cure deadly diseases. Governments, private companies and individuals have poured billions of dollars into research for decades, but they have yet to discover the cure for cancer. But God is in the business of healing people and he has been healing without the help of modern medicine. He starts the process in the spirit and it goes down to the soul. Then it is manifested in the body. Indeed, God restores our spirit and gives us the joy of our salvation. As joy overwhelms our souls, rotten bones are restored and they give healing to our body. A cheerful heart is indeed a good medicine. Hallelujah!