The power of hope heals hearts, but broken hearts sometimes despair. Is your heart hopeful?
One medical study after another say you really can die of a broken heart. Among the first surveys figured that widowers were at an increased risk to die within six months of their wives’ deaths. It discovered that the 4,500 widowers in the survey had a mortality rate 40 percent higher than other men the same age.
Did they love their wives so much they just couldn’t go on?
Sounds sweet. . .bittersweet.
Yet researchers found a link between a higher mortality rate and a loss of hope.
The Placebo Effect
When a pharmaceutical wants to test the efficacy of a drug, it uses a double-blind study so that neither the doctor nor the patient knows if it is the real thing or an “inert” control drug. It’s the truest test. Before double blind testing, almost all new drugs had grand success, no matter the chemical composition of the medicine.
Researchers eventually concluded that a doctor’s demeanor was at play. Doctors unconsciously projected confidence and hope of improvement. . .and patients got better. They had hope.
A hopeless person is in trouble. Listen:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs: 13:12
This proverb is an axiom giving a general truth. It’s not a guarantee. Even hopeless people who have a disability or lost their home or grieve the death of a loved one can grow in hope like a field of daisies.
While some people — like my daughter Julia (aka “Energizer Bunny”) — has a naturally hopeful spirit, others can “catch” hope.
Think of Ruth and Naomi, women in the Bible. After the death of her husband Ruth just keeps going, without moaning, over rough terrain all the way from Moab to Bethlehem, the homeland of her woe-is-me mother-in-law. Naomi, a widow, says of herself: “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21).
Do you feel empty? Are you facing a hardship?
God comforts the broken-hearted. He is your hope.
There is no simple formula for healing a broken heart. Each person’s situation is unique to her.
No Simple Formula
Here are three ideas from the prophet Elijah’s low point. You can read it in 1 Kings 19:3-18. These actions help. Sometimes you need biblical counseling too.
1. Eat good food.
2. Rest well.
3. Listen to God’s whisper.
And four more from personal experience.
4. Spend time with supportive friends.
5. Do something that make you laugh. A hilarious movie or TV show? Watching the antics of little kids?
6. Take a walk or ride a bike or do anything that gets you moving.
7. Help someone.
Question: What action helps you experience hope?
Hoping in God,