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Why do so many bad things happen to good people?  It seems like everything that can go wrong usually does, and we ask ourselves why?  I recently learned a lesson about faith that I wanted to share with you.  Last year, my father fell and broke his hip and he was taken to the hospital.  After surgery he couldn’t breathe.  As a nurse, I tried to fix everything.  At least I thought I could fix everything.
Daily I went to the hospital questioning the doctors, observing the nurses and staff.  I monitored everything I could possibly think of as a nurse.  I looked at lab work, vital signs, researched respiratory disorders, though my dad had none.  Nothing I did helped.  I went to church and asked several church members to pray for him.  My family and I called all our friends and asked them to help pray for my dad.  We asked other churches to pray.  We asked friends at work to pray.  Nothing seem to be helping.  Day by day we watched my father decline more and more.  He was put on a respirator and then all of his vital organs began to shut down.  He was hooked up to IV lines and NG tubes and the respiratory machine.  Day after day, the doctors gave us more and more bad news.  My dad’s kidneys weren’t functioning properly and they started Dialysis on him.

It seemed like the more we tried to fight him dieing the closer he got to it.  Yes, we had prayed but it didn’t seem to be working.  We asked ourselves if God was listening to us.  We asked if maybe God was giving us time to accept that he was going to take his life.  After two months in ICU, my dad was taken off the respirator and moved to a private room.  The prognosis wasn’t good.  The doctors and nurses were expecting my dad to die any day; and they wanted us to give up and allow him to die.  We weren’t ready to allow him to die.  We monitored him as close as we could when the doctor and nurses gave up on him ever recovering.  I never felt this type of sorrow in my life.  I became physically sick over worring about my dad.  I cried daily at work.  After becoming so physically exhausted from worry, I cried to God and told him that I couldn’t do it anymore.  I told him that I was ready to hand the reins over to him.  I told him that I was putting my dad’s life completely in his hands.  I wasn’t ready to let my dad go, but I knew that I was merely a human and God was in control of everything.

That night when I went to the hospital, my dad stopped breathing.  I ran to the hall and cried for the nurses to help him.  They began to work on him and quickly rushed him down the hall toward the ICU to intubate him again with a tube.  After a short pause, a nurse ran out and was yelling.  He’s going to make it.  He had a huge ball of mucus lodged in his throat and now it’s out.  He is breathing on his own.  Of course when the doctor came to the hospital he said that he didn’t think that the mucus plug would affect him that much and that he was still going to die.  I knew in my heart that God had touched my dad and I thought the doctor was completely crazy.  Today my dad is alive and well and he doesn’t require any oxygen to help him breath.  I believe that sometimes people go through things like this to help our faith.  It helped my faith that day when God healed my dad.  I believed in brought me closer to God too.  I know that he is an Almighty God and he is the creator of us all.
WHAT HAS THE LORD DONE FOR ME?
WHEN I WAS BLIND AND LOST IN MY MIGHT,
HE LIFTED ME UP AND SHOWED ME THE LIGHT.
WHEN I WAS POOR AND HAD NOTHING TO EAT,
HE GAVE ME FOOD AND HELPED MY DEFEAT.
WHEN I WAS SCARED AND SORE AFRAID,
HE GAVE ME COMFORT AND CAME TO MY AID.
WHEN I HAD NOTHING AND WAS IN NEED,
HE GAVE ME MONEY AND HELPED INDEED.
WHEN I WAS LONELY AND NEEDED A FRIEND,
HE WAS THERE FOR ME WITH HIS HAND.
WHEN I HAD A PROBLEM, CONFLICT OR STRIFE,
HE GAVE ME THE ANSWER AND HELPED MY LIFE.
WHEN I WAS SICK OR NEEDED A REST,
HIS STRENGTH AND POWER HELPED THE BEST.
WHAT HAS THE LORD DONE FOR ME?
HE REACHED OUT HIS HANDS AND DIED FOR ME.

Written by Tracy Kauffman

This is a guest post. The opinions and views other the writer do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blog or its owners and as such the blog and its owners cannot be held responsible for them.

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Regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to no attendance at all, a study concluded.

The study’s findings supports previous research that religious participation can promote psychological and physical health – and reduce mortality risks – possibly by calming people in stressful times, creating meaningful social interactions and helping curtail bad habits.

Those who said they attended services more than once a week in the previous month were 56% more likely to be above the median score in a measure of optimism than those who did not attend services, according to a study scheduled for publication in the Journal of Religion and Health.

And those who reported attending services weekly were 22% less likely to be depressed or have depressive symptoms, compared to non-attendees.

Correlation

But a researcher on the study cautioned against people assuming that adopting a religion and heading off to a church, synagogue, temple or mosque would brighten their lives.

There is a correlation, but that does not mean there is causality, said Eliezer Schnall, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Yeshiva University in New York. One could argue people who are more optimistic may be drawn to religious services.

The person who says, ‘I guess if I go to services, that will make me more optimistic’ – while a possibility, that may not be true, he said.

Another caveat Schnall offered was that the study examined older women, so the benefits of religious activity may not apply to younger people or to males. Older women in particular have been shown in past research to engage in more social interaction at services, and to gain the most from it.

Services reduce death risk

Schnall worked on a 2008 study of the same group of women that found those who attended religious services regularly reduced their risk of death by 20% over the follow-up period that averaged nearly eight years.

“We’re trying to connect the dots here,” he said. We know they’re less likely to die, and health outcomes can be related to psychological factors.

The two studies examined answers provided by nearly 93,000 women, aged 50 to 79, who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study that began in 1991. Funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the survey tracks women’s health, habits, beliefs and outcomes.

In response to questions asked when they enrolled, 34% of the women said they had not attended services in the previous month, 21% attended less than once a week, 30% attended weekly, and 14% more than once week.

Positive worldview

They also answered a raft of questions to judge their level of optimism and their susceptibility to depression.

Schnall said there was no dose response when it comes to frequency of attending religious services and mental health.

But religious practice in general can encourage a positive worldview, include calming rituals, and have other psychological and social benefits, the report said.

The study found people who attend services regularly were 28% more likely to report having positive social support – which often meant they were more likely to have someone to help with chores or take them to the doctor if they needed it.

Closer confidants

Religious people may also be more likely to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol in excess, to visit physicians, and to engage in other healthy lifestyle behaviours, it said.

When compared to other social groupings such as sporting events or playing cards, fellow religious congregants can provide closer confidants, Schnall said.

There are occasions, however, where religious disagreements with clergy, family members, or fellow parishioners can create psychological strains, the report noted.

(Reuters Health, November 2011)

Editors Note: This article appeared on a Health website and is not the original thoughts or thinking of this blog or its owners or contributors.

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