Stress causes immune dysfunction. One of the most common pieces of health advice given by medical professionals is you must learn to handle stress to remain healthy. You need to manage stress to recover from chronic illnesses like cancer.
There are many stress management techniques, like deep breathing, which are important for the health of your immune system. I will discuss these in future posts. However, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t share with you the answer I have heard so often from those who are in their journey with cancer. How are they able to manage stress and keep negative thoughts from overwhelming them? These individuals will tell you, as they have told me, it is their religious faith that sustains them in their darkest moments and allows them to face each day with renewed determination.
There are times when stress mounts and doubt and fear hound your thoughts.. These are the times when faith sustains you.
I realize this might not seem very helpful if you don’t have a close relationship with God. Like so many people you may question or are uncertain in your faith.
This uncertainty is most likely because you have a misconception of what faith is. The common conception of faith that prevails today is that it is some form of power, and if we could work up enough of this substance, or feeling, or whatever it is then we could accomplish all sorts of remarkable feats. We could overcome the obstacles that cause our sickness and block us from recovery. The truth is – it is much simpler than that.
Faith is simply a belief in something without first having proof. The one characteristic which we all have as human beings is the capacity to believe. We automatically do it. We sit down in a chair because we believe it will hold us up. We drive over a bridge because we believe it won’t collapse. Faith is the most automatic response of the human spirit. The most common shared experience of mankind throughout the world is prayer and a belief in God. What isn’t shared is an understanding of just what is the nature of God.
How can we know the true nature of God? Mainly, He reveals Himself to us in His Word. The written word of God has a quality about it that awakens faith. As you read and think about the qualities of God and His promises as presented to you in scripture there comes a quiet conviction to the heart, “This must be true!” This awareness will come to you – gradually sometimes, sometimes suddenly. This is the basis upon which faith then is invited to act.
When your heart tells you that God does exist, that He is sovereign, and He is infinite in truth (incapable of lying) then you will be able to venture out on His promises.
Perhaps you’ve heard the statement: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” A misinterpretation of the context of this verse will lead you right back to the idea that if you could build up your faith just to the size of a little tiny mustard seed then somehow you would be able to literally move mountains. This concept is filled with defeat because we know in our hearts that just moving a mole hill is beyond our reach.
This verse is a parable – a statement designed to teach a particular truth. The mustard seed is the smallest of garden seeds. When planted it grows to become the largest of garden plants. It grows to be a sheltering tree. The parable has nothing to do with “size” of faith; it is about its growth.
The phrase about moving mountains is an expression that was well-known by the audience that heard it. It simply meant being able to handle great difficulties. The truth that this parable teaches is that your faith (belief) in God starts small, but it can expand to the point where you have a trust in God by which you can rely on God to handle great difficulties that face you. God becomes a sheltering tree.
Now let’s see how this works. If you don’t believe that God exists, then all of God’s help and comfort that he desires to pour out on you are no longer available. That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. Here is what God’s word says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The very first question, then, is do you believe that God exists? If you can answer yes to that question, then you have your mustard seed.
Next, do you believe that God is almighty, all-powerful? “I am God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1). Do you believe he created the universe? “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:2). Do you believe that anything is impossible for God? “For with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). With just these few questions, the mustard seed has sprouted and become a tiny plant.
The point being, don’t try to examine your faith to see how much or how little you have. The key is that He rewards those who earnestly seek him. It is a matter of an honest heart. When you come to the realization that God exists and you have a sincere desire to have a better understanding of the nature of God and his relationship to you, then God has promised to take the initiative and reveal himself to you. Ask him to handle your stress and he will. He has promised to give you rest.
One more point about faith. Having faith doesn’t mean you are expected to believe something without first having evidence. Faith isn’t a fool’s game. People without faith want proof before they act. People with faith will act based upon the evidence. Hope is being able to hear the music of the future. Faith is being able to dance to it.
If you have questions, be sure and leave a comment or contact me directly at John@RestoreImmuneHealth.com