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The key to optimism

A recent study conducted by several researchers from Canada and the U.S. has concluded that optimists live longer, the Washington Post reports.

The study came to this conclusion after tracking 160,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 for 26 years.

At the beginning of the study, the women completed a self-analysis that measured their optimism, with those scoring the highest considered optimists and those on the lower end of the scale, pessimists.

In 2019, the researchers then conducted a follow-up study with those who were still alive and also determined the ages at which the remainder had died.

While accounting for other factors that contribute to a longer life span, such as economic well-being and ethnicity, the researchers found that those who scored high on the optimist scale lived longer than those who didn’t.

Optimists were also more likely to live into their nineties, which the researchers described as ‘exceptional longevity” considering the average life span for women in their study was 83 years.

Another study, conducted by researchers from Rochester University in New York, concluded that men and women who were considered optimistic outlived their more pessimistic people in the study by between 11% to 15%.

So what is the key to optimism for the believer?

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, the Apostle Paul sums up his love chapter with these the three keys to the Christian life, faith, hope, and love.

While love is the greatest, faith and hope are still vitally important.

Faith believes that God is the ruler of heaven and earth, and that Jesus rose from the dead, but what is hope.

Hope is the source of our optimism. Hope is the key that unlocks our faith, as it involves trust.

Trust takes the theory of your faith and applies it to your life.

Trust understands Peter’s words, that we can cast all our anxieties and worries on the Lord, “because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

We believe that God personally cares for us. The Greek word, ‘melō’, translated “cares,” incorporates two essential ideas.

It includes the concept that God is not only interested in what is going on in your life, but the Lord is also concerned about you.

As the psalmist writes, God thinks about you (Psalm 40:17).

Trust takes our faith and incorporates it into our life. It is where the rubber meets the road. This is why we can have hope.

The ancients believed that their gods were distant and had little concern about humans, and only became involved in the affairs of men when it benefitted them.

But this is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible.

Yet, this is often where we struggle. We theoretically believe in God, and even have faith, but do we believe God personally cares for you:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5 ESV)

Do we truly trust God?

READ: Why optimists live longer than the rest of us AND Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and women

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