If you need a reminder about the power of faith and hope, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve just finished reading New York Times Bestseller Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six. It’s the compelling story of Humanitarian Aid Worker Jessica Buchanan whom, along with a colleague, was ambushed and captured by Somali Pirates while working on a Land Mine Awareness program for children. During her three months in captivity Jessica was held outside in unimaginable conditions, fell gravely ill, and almost starved to death.
Although Jessica lost hope at points during her ordeal, she believes that it was her enduring faith and hope, along with the undying efforts of her husband, family, church community and SEAL Team Six that led to her miraculous capture and ultimate survival.
According to the Free Dictionary, faith is: “confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea or thing; belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence”. Much research has been done into the psychological and physical benefits of faith. A Duke University study indicates that faith can reduce stress and depression, decrease cardiovascular disease and blood pressure, and mitigate metabolic problems.
Since faith is so powerful, why not work on developing it today rather than waiting to find it in times of dire need? Here are some things to consider as you build your “faith muscles”:
First and foremost explore ways to stay in the present and find inner peace, even in the worst of times. Meditation, prayer or spending time in nature can help us find a place of inner calm and clear out the worries and annoyances that so often occupy our minds. Be patient with yourself; developing these practices takes time and dedication.
Keep a journal or record of seemingly hopeless situations that have resolved themselves or have resulted in good. Review it the next time you face a challenging situation; one where resolution seemed unlikely or impossible at the time.
Recognize the power of community. Especially during the tough times knowing that you are not facing them alone helps strengthen one’s faith. In fact there is research to support the notion that communal prayer can be extremely effective in emotional, physical and spiritual healing.
Understand that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The capture of Jessica Buchanan apparently shouldn’t have been able to occur. However the dedication and team of SEAL Team Six defied the odds and Jessica has lived to write about it.
Although we often can’t change our circumstances we can change how we view them. In the field of Behavioral Health this approach is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and in the words of concentration camp survivor, psychologist and author, Victor Frankl: “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes”.
Please remember that your faith doesn’t have to come in the form of belief in a higher power. Faith in yourself, your loved ones, your community, or the power of nature are a few of many options. In the words of Jessica Buchanan: “To those who find themselves in a hopeless situation I encourage you to remain hopeful in something. When you need it most, life, God, love, will give you that extra measure of strength to dig a little deeper…..”
Faith & Hope
by Maud Purcell