proof: the bible is real...


Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.



A while back I had a conversation with one of my best friends.  Her young son was questioning the Bible.  He wanted "proof" that it is real.  I was somewhat disappointed in my inability to offer an eloquent answer.  Having never questioned the reality of God's word, I didn't have what I felt was a good answer.  I did tell her that scientists have found pieces of what they believe to be parts of Noah's ark.  I shared with her about the discovery of the what appears to be the Shroud of Turin, Christ's burial cloth.  But mostly, all I could advise was that believing in the Bible was an act of faith, something you accept with your heart.


I hadn't given this too much more thought until a few days ago....


As I sat working at my computer with the television rambling in the background, something caught my attention and I stopped to listen.  "Growing evidence suggests that depression, one of the most common diseases of the brain, is so powerful it can actually erode bones in the body."  My first reaction was to jump up and down and yell, "No duh" at my television screen, but I didn't think the newscaster would listen!

They did peek my interest, and I went to the ABC News website for more information.  It seems that Philip Gold, chief of the Clinical Neuroendocrinology branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, is conducting pioneering research on the effects of depression on bone density.  


Quoting from their website:


Depression is like a severe and prolonged state of stress. It causes blood pressure and the heart rate to increase. It also causes the brain to produce dangerously high levels of hormones. 


"The brain really controls the hormones in the bloodstream," explained Gold. "The brain speaks to the body through hormones, and that is how the brain induces bone loss and other medical problems in patients who are depressed."


And it doesn't take much. Research suggests a depression that lasts only a few months can trigger significant bone loss.



In my attempt at being a motivational speaker, I have quoted Proverbs 17:22 (A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones) whenever I speak before a group.  I rejoiced that modern medicine had provided me with this simplest of reminders that God's Word is real! 


If you battle with depression (anxiety), I urge you to get help.  Depression is a spiral downward, often with no end in sight.  A good place to start, on your knees...  I Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.


In the Bible anxiety is frequently depicted as a common reaction to a stressful circumstance. In Psalm 94:19, the psalmist confesses that anxiety is "great" within him.  In Psalm 139:23, David prays: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thought".


It is inconsistent with trust in God. Jesus' command "do not worry " occurs six times in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-33 and He also reminds us to trust in the heavenly Father. Paul urges: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" Philippians 4:6.


We can become so preoccupied with concern about provision, performance, or reputation, that comes from  in incomplete knowledge, lack of control over circumstances, or failure to take an "eternal" perspective on things (Matt 6:25-34; 10:19; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12, 22-34).


Occasionally, anxiety is a symptom of guilt (Psalm 38:18). [Scripture references will open in a new window]


Freedom from anxiety and the depression that it accompanies begins with recognition that it is not God's will for you. In fact, anxiety is a subtle insinuation that God is either unable or disinclined to see to our welfare. Recognizing the futility of worry (Matt 6:27; Luke 12:25); cultivate a growing understanding of God's power and fatherly disposition (Matt 6:26; Luke 12:30); entrust to God the things that we cannot control - cast your cares on Him 1 Peter 5:7; increasingly viewing things in eternal perspective (Matt 6:32-34; Luke 12:30-34); and substituting prayer for worry ("Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" Philippians 4:6.)


A merry heart really does do good like a medicine and depression really does dry up the bones!!


January 2003