Faith isn’t a Feeling. It’s a Choice to Trust God even when the Road Ahead seems Uncertain.
Over the past few weeks, several accidents and tragedies have claimed the lives of several loved ones in our community, car accidents, drownings and complications during surgery… It seems so sad and sometimes you struggle to understand why
You know someone who has experienced a tragedy – simple words like “We are praying for you” or “I am here if you need me,” are the best form of comfort for those who are grieving. The tough part is the questions in your own mind about why or maybe someone asks you why these things happen.
Here are some Scriptures and thoughts dealing with tragedy that you could share:
Jesus Understands How We Feel. Jesus himself experienced many of the same emotions we faced. He was also overtaken by grief when his friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). He is not out of touch with the effects tragedy has on us. Hebrews 4:15 (NLT): “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”
God Cares For You. It’s easy to feel uncared for or forsaken by God when tragedy happens to us or others. The fact is, God cares deeply about you and is a source of peace and comfort for you in the midst of all you are going through. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT): “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT): “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Our Troubles Will Fade Away. We can look past our troubles and sorrows and place our hope in our future glory, which awaits us in eternity. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT): “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
God WILL Triumph Over Evil! Evil may exist but in the end, God will be victorious over the evil of this world! We have hope that righteousness will prevail. Romans 16:20 (NLT): “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
There have been several studies looking at the power of prayer.
- Prayer Can Improve Vision and Hearing… Praying for someone else’s health may be very effective, especially if the beneficiary is physically close to the person doing the praying. A 2010 study from the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington investigated vision and hearing in poor areas of rural Mozambique and the implications of “proximal” prayer – the person praying is in close physical proximity to the person who needs to be healed. The people in the study demonstrated significantly improved hearing and vision after proximal prayer.
- Prayer Helps You Handle Negative Emotions… Prayer can help you deal with emotional pain, whether it is caused by illness, depression or negative events, according to 2010 research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. How? One way prayer helps, according to the researchers, is by giving you the opportunity to vent your anger and sadness without fear. Researchers looked at people in violent relationships and noticed how prayer helped raise their self esteem and lowered stress levels.
- Prayer can also help sufferers deal with anxiety… A 2009 study from the University of Mississippi showed direct, person-to-person prayer resulted in significantly improved levels of anxiety and depression as well as an increase in optimism. These improvements held fast for at least a month after the prayer sessions stopped. And a 1997 study by S O’Laoire showed that prayer from a distance helped overall improvement on all measures connected with anxiety and depression.
- Praying Gives You Incentive to Exercise?… Group prayer, scripture reading and faith-based encouragement caused older African-American women to exercise, according to the results of a 2010 study from the University of California, Los Angeles. Those that prayed and joined in with the faith group increased their steps by 78 percent a week, which is about equal to an extra three miles.
- People Who Pray Have Better Heart Health… Intercessory prayer, or praying for others, is a common response for millions of people around the world when faced with someone hospitalized for heart disease or heart attack. A 1999 study from the Mid America Heart Institute, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City assigned 990 patients in the coronary care unit to a prayer group or none, without telling them whether they were being prayed for or not. The study showed that praying for a person brought down the number of adverse effects patients suffered while in the coronary care unit, leading researchers to suggest that prayer may be an effective add-on to conventional cardiac care.
- Prayer’s Effects on Bloodstream Infection… The effects of intercessory prayer are also felt by people with bloodstream infection, according to a 2001 study by the Department of Medicine, Rabin Medical Center, Israel. People prayed remotely for the health of one group of patients with bloodstream infection, while the rest were not prayed for. Results showed the group receiving prayer had significantly shorter stays in hospital and shorter durations of fever.
- Can Prayer Cure Cancer?… There is no direct evidence that prayer can cure cancer but many people find comfort in prayer when suffering such a serious disease. Over 68% of men and women with a history of cancer pray for their own health, according to a 2008 study from the Institute for Health, Social and Community Research, Shaw University, Raleigh. Overall, praying for one’s own health was associated with better health status. A 2009 study by the Department of Chaplain Services, Mayo Clinic, Rochester looked at the implementation of using a centering prayer as part of chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer. The prayer session was conducted by a teacher over three one-hour sessions. Women who took part in the prayer sessions showed improvement in well being, depression and anxiety. It is possible that higher levels of faith, better self esteem and a greater sense of well being can contribute to higher recovery rates