The Highway to the Future Is
Dr. David Rogne
Health-care professionals have long suggested that many older people die because
they think that it is time for them to die. A few years ago Dr. Lawrence
Casler, a psychologist, designed an
experiment to test this theory. He selected fifteen healthy persons in their
eighties and began to hold before them the vision that life is intended to be
long and healthy. To another group of senior adults, he indicated that he was
simply studying their attitudes. He offered no positive vision. The study
revealed that the group who received positive encouragement had fewer illnesses
and lived an average of 8.1 years longer, compared with 1.9 years for those who
received no encouragement. What this demonstrates is that a positive vision
contributes to survival.
its long history, Judaism has frequently provided such a vision for its people.
When they were struggling to survive in the desert, Moses held out the vision of
a promised land. During the centuries when they were dispersed in an unfriendly
world, with no land to call their own, their annual toast at Passover was "Next
year in Jerusalem." In a similar way, when Jews were being held in captive exile
in Babylon, a prophet came to them and spoke words of hope, which helped them to
believe that these words of hope are part of God's good news to every
generation. Let's consider their meaning for us.
first thing I discover in this passage is that something to look forward to is
often the only thing that makes the present endurable. These words were
addressed to people who were going through tough times. They had been living in
captivity for decades. They had no army, no resources, no strong leadership.
They were discouraged; they doubted that their God had any further interest in
them; they felt abandoned...
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