“my bones wasted away through my groaning” Psalm 32:
Forty percent of all Americans claim they’ve been cured of an illness or else found their physical health much improved as a result of personal prayer or meditation.
If you go to church, researchers claim that you likely have a stronger immune system than your neighbor who never darkens the door of the sanctuary.
Open-heart surgery is three times more devastating to those who do not lean on their faith in God.
Does your mother have a hip-fracture? Listen to this. Those hip-fracture patients who are religious walk longer distances when they’re discharged from the hospital—and suffer less depression—than those who have no faith whatsoever.
It is impossible to refute those who assert that faith is solely something spiritual. I’m not sure anyone ever believed in God—or even could—in order to buy into the myriad medical benefits that accrue to those who believe; but research shows irrefutably that faith actually affects muscles and bones. In verse three, David is not speaking in metaphor.
Older patients are likely to stay in hospitals two and one-half times longer if they have no personal faith. That’s not all. Those who regularly attend religious services are simply less likely to be hospitalized in the first place.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Baby-boomers, like me, were found to suffer from depression and other mental illnesses half as frequently if they were frequent church attendees.
Finally—and maybe most unbelievable: nearly 400 patients in a San Francisco health care facility were assigned to receive intercessory prayer—or else assigned to a group that did not. Those who were prayed for by other people had more favorable outcomes, less congestive heart failure, and cardiac arrest.
So why so many good believers find themselves sleepless?
For a ton of reasons. Maybe their son’s girlfriend has just announced she’s leaving. Maybe both mom and dad know in the marrow of their bones that he will miss her dearly and they can’t stand seeing him hurt. Maybe that’s why the two of them took off yesterday evening because what’s characterized their house in the last twelve hours is a hush that emerges from cavernous concern.
You know. Create your own circumstance if you don't have one handy. Take a moment and remember.
Dad’s bones don’t ache this morning, but his whole being seems overburdened, and he knows—as just about all of us do—exactly what David means here when he refers to the anguish of his physical self. Out of concern and fear for someone he loves, he feels, like so many others for so many different reasons, as if his body has been shipwrecked.
If you believe the headlines, you might wonder whether those who confess the name of Jesus get a free pass through the valley of the shadow, but this morning many, many of us know different.
When deep concern strikes, we know it in our bones.