Visiting a forest preserve with my young daughter one afternoon, I jumped off a large tree stump and badly twisted my ankle. That evening my ankle was swollen out of shape, very black and blue, and extremely painful. My wife urged me to go to church with her. I hobbled into that church service with no shoe on that foot (it was summer), but walked out with my shoe on and a painless ankle.
Did going to church help heal that ankle? Yes. I listened intently and felt the presence and power of God release me from the pain. A few days later all evidence of the discoloration and swelling were also gone.
Can going to church be beneficial to your health? Yes, but don’t just take my word for it. A new study co-authored by Tyler VanderWeele, a researcher at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, concluded, “Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource…” Their research noted numerous benefits associated with attending services. Participants who began going to church services became more likely to quit smoking and were less likely to show signs of depression.
One of the team’s most striking findings, according to VanderWeele, concerned breast cancer. They found that although women who attended services were no more or less likely to contract breast cancer, women who attended services were more likely to recover from it.
Of course, just going to a building is not going to make us well. It is the love, hope, courage, and devotion – the spirituality one gains through listening – that heals. It is finding – and understanding better–a power beyond oneself: the divine power of God which forgives, comforts, inspires and restores.
Mary Baker Eddy, founder of The Church of Christ, Scientist, of which I am a member, had a great love for Church. She felt that a church should produce an effect upon its attendees – awakening them to the healing power of God. She expected that those who attended her church should find release from fear, hate and even illness, and find confidence, joy, love, selflessness and health.
This is something you might like to try. Find a church – one where you are comfortable – and expect to know and feel the power of God to inspire, encourage, and yes, even bring health into your life.