Good Medicine

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (NIV)

Before I came to pastor in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, I had been a part-time chaplain, as well as a full-time parish minister, at a local hospital in Scotland. I used to go around my assigned wards — cardiac, oncology, and pulmonary — on a regular basis. I sat and visited with the many patients who were undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and recovery. Over the years, I began to notice how some patients healed more quickly due to their positive attitude, humour, and faith. If they complained about the room, the staff, or the food, it seemed to take them twice as long to heal and recover. If they appreciated their nurses, followed the doctor's orders, and laughed a lot with their visitors, they always seemed to be on a fast track to regaining their strength.

It amazed me then, and it still does today, how our attitudes can affect our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. I believe the Bible is right when it states, "a cheerful heart is good medicine". I've seen it happen on so many different occasions with different people in similar medical circumstances.

So I guess what I'm expressing is something that Jesus kept saying to His disciples all along: "Be of good cheer; I am here! Don't be afraid." (Matthew 14:27) And that's good medicine.

Prayer: Lord, whatever we face today, help us to maintain a positive attitude that will strengthen our spirits and cheer our souls. We thank You for Your loving presence and guidance that enable us to overcome setbacks and meet new challenges with fortitude and faith. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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