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Hope and Health
Photo: Bill Davenport
Victor Frankl, the famous Vienna psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, recalls the following story taking place in his concentration camp. One day a fellow prisoner confided to him that a voice in a strange dream had promised to answer whatever question he wanted to ask. So he asked the voice to tell him when the camp would be liberated. The dream voice replied, March 30. The man awakened from his dream absolutely thrilled and excited—March 30 was only a few weeks away.

Under the torturous conditions in the camp, the man took the dream seriously, believing with all his heart that March 30 would bring salvation. But as the day approached and the news reaching the prisoners remained discouraging, the man took sick.

On March 31, after the deadline and no liberation, the man died. The physical cause of his death was listed as typhus. But Dr. Frankl believes it was the sudden loss of hope, the severe disappointment, which lowered the man's resistance to the infection. This experience, along with many others like it, convinced Dr. Frankl that if you have nothing more to expect from life, you begin to lose life.

Vital to Human Existence 

Hope is a vital part of human existence—the confident belief that there is something more rather than something less, something better instead of something worse, something to live for and invest energy in gives life its necessary depth and meaning and security. Hope empowers us to push through incredible obstacles and challenges, to defy the odds and keep going.

The Bible uses the word "hope" about 150 times. And in the majority of those times the object of hope is God. The writers discovered that when all else failed, they were able to place their hope on God and keep moving forward. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11).

So what is the object of your hope? What is your hope based upon? Is your hope in something you can trust, something you can really believe in, Someone you can count on through thick and thin?

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning” (Psalm 130:5-6).

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By Greg Nelson. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © 1996 and the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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