Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is well-known that our emotions can have a profound effect on our bodies. And the condition of our bodies can affect our emotions. For example, a 1997 article in the journal published by the American Heart Association points to the negative physical consequences of hopelessness. It essentially said that those who had experienced extreme feelings of despair had a 20-percent greater increase in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) over a 4-year period. Other studies have also connected hopelessness with heart disease, heart attacks, and death. The relationship between one’s emotional well-being and physical condition, however, is not a modern discovery. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, we read that “a merry heart does good, like medicine” (17:22), and that the wisdom found in God’s words “are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh” (4:22). A proper relationship to God and His Word can benefit us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The central concern of the gospel is to bring us into a right relationship with God through faith in Christ. Its blessed byproduct is an abundant life filled with health promoting hope—the assurance of total forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Christ.