Friday, April 20, 2007

Whitefield on Physical Infirmities

George Whitfield maintained a grueling preaching schedule, often speaking outdoors to multiple thousands of people every day. He had an unusual combination of devout personal piety and remarkable oratory skills that put his preaching in high demand wherever he went. It is likely that his constant travel and rigorous schedule contributed to the many physical infirmities that he suffered from throughout his life.

You would think that those infirmities would discourage him as they often hindered what was normally a very effective ministry. Not so with George Whitefield. He felt that those things that “weakened” his preaching or hindered it altogether were designed by God for his own good. Here is an excerpt from his journal entry for May 1, 1740:
I preached in the evening at New York to as large a congregation as ever; but my spirits being exhausted, I preached, as I thought, but heavily. But I have been too apt to build on my frames, and think I do no good, or do not please God, only because I do not please myself; for I have often found, that my seemingly less powerful discourses have been much owned by God. I find it absolutely necessary, that Gospel ministers should meet with such thorns in the flesh, that both ministers and hearers may know themselves to be but men. Lord, show that Thou dost love me, by humbling and keeping me humble as long as I live! The means I leave to Thee. I am Thy clay, Thou art the Potter; mould me as it seemeth good to Thy sovereign goodwill and pleasure! Amen and Amen.

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