We live in the information age, making it easy to find many resources to deal with our ongoing troubles and despair. Instructions for yoga, meditation advice, easy connections to therapists, counselors and gurus of every type. Might we sometimes forget that there is a book upon which this nation was built, and from which many of our morals and mores evolve? That book is the Bible, the pages of which are crowded with inspiration, encouragement, and strengthening support. Let’s take a look.
Mark 4:40, says “Why are ye fearful? Have you no faith?” Either in this form, or stated in a different manner, the reprimand to stop being afraid is used over 365 times in the Bible. To say that fear is running rampant in today’s world would be an understatement. There is fear of global warming, of nuclear war, of terrorism, of violence on the streets, of illness, and of failing, among thousands of other things. But, the Bible says, “Fear not’. Could it be that Winston Churchill was aware of this scriptural admonition when he said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”? If we are able to be calm in the face of danger; if we can find a way to proactively work against the sickness and distress that is plaguing the world; if we can stop being afraid and start being helpful, the Bible tells us that we will be at peace. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
I John 5: 14, 15 tell us, ” …if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us; and we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of him.” Does this mean that prayer can actually change the course of a person’s illness? Dr. Randolph Byrd, in 1988, looked at the effects of prayer for his patients. Over ten months, 393 patients admitted to the CCU were randomly assigned to a treatment group that would receive distant prayers, or a control group that would receive no prayers. Three to seven people prayed daily for the rapid recovery, and prevention of complications or death, for a single patient in the treatment group. The end result was that statistically significantly fewer patients in the prayer group required ventilation, antibiotics, had cardiopulmonary arrests, developed pneumonia, or required diuretics. (http://www.suite101.com/content/pray-for-me-a202806) This is not the only study that has been done on this topic. There are many others.
Another verse that encourages is, Jeremiah: 29:24, “…let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds.” It’s human nature. We want to be right, we want to be in control, we want what we want when we want it. This verse implies that there just might be merit in prompting others toward good. Could it be that instead of competition, making a connection with our fellow man, camaraderie, and support for one another will bring us greater blessings?
Most of us would agree that being positive, looking for the best, seeing the glass half full is the way to go. However, the power of positive thinking is not a 20th century idea. Philippians 4:8 tell us, ” whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” Now that’s thinking positively.
And, the how-to on loving is explained very straight-forwardly in I Corinthians, 13:4-7, 13, , “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
“And now, these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.”
The strength we need to live enthusiastically is never far away. Dust off your copy of the Bible…there’s much, much more for the taking.