People who experience high levels of despair have a 20 percent greater occurrence of atherosclerosis than people who live with hope. That’s the “same magnitude of increased risk that one sees in comparing a pack-a-day smoker to a non-smoker,” according to the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In other words, with hope we can be 20 percent less likely to suffer from narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque buildup on interior blood vessel walls (atherosclerosis).
But hope in what?
Proverbs tells us that, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (17:22). So, what do we do when the dark storm clouds roll in? And what about our final appointment with death?
Will a sunny smile keep death at bay? No! If our hope can’t see us through our darkest days, and through the valley of the shadow of death, it is not true hope.
The disciples of Jesus Christ went through a period of despair. But their hope returned when the condition that caused their despair was reversed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Let’s see why the resurrection is the only foundation for a life of hope today.
The death of hope
Imagine what the disciples felt the evening after Jesus was taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb.
Several women went to the tomb the next morning to anoint Jesus’ body. But the tomb was empty. An angel told them Jesus had risen from the dead. They ran back to tell the disciples. Peter and John raced to the tomb and, indeed, it was empty. After discovering the empty tomb, they were still terribly discouraged and confused.
What did it mean? “For as yet they did not know the Scripture that He must rise again from the dead” (John 10:9-10). Then the disciples went home. All their hopes for the future had been focused on the Savior. When He died, the disciples’ dreams died.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press