Some of the benefits of the strides of unprecedented development that have marked our era include longevity resulting from timely disease screening and treatment, and eradication of virulent diseases. In countries such as the United States, in the late 19th and early 20th century, life expectancy was only 45 years, average. By the end of the 20th century life expectancy had increased to almost 80!! The rate of infant mortality has been reduced from 26 per 1,000 births to less than 7 per 1,000 live births! Infectious diseases are under control due to rigorous immunization programs and aggressive treatment methods. Access to culturally nutritious foods and clean water is at an all-time high.

In spite of the above intensely remarkable developmental benefits for mankind, toxicologists, risk experts, environmentalists, geneticists and epidemiologists predict and caution us about a cumulative burden of development-related health threats in the form of pesticide-induced gene mutations, radiation-induced cancers, biotechnological agricultural mishaps, electromagnetic-induced fatigue and loss of libido, as well as inter-national spread of pathogens such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and tuberculosis; exacerbated by constant cross-continental travel. The abundance of food has ushered in the obesity pandemic with its associated chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These threats (and many others) have become sources of fear and apprehension among the general public. Whether these fears and apprehensions are based on true estimations or whether they are over-estimated phantoms of imagination and perception the fact is they have an adverse impact on health. Other equally pathological fears stem from lack of trust of each other and the people who are supposed to protect us such as corporate organizations and law enforcement systems; the dread of lack of control over one’s life in the light of cataclysmic events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Finally, people are fearful for their general safety particularly with the frequency of the incidence of sporadic and random mass shootings in public places. Being constantly worried about these things has real adverse effects on health. People live under constant stress and trepidation, which, in turn, trigger mental conditions and physical disorders including cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure. As one bard put it, modern man (generic term) has his feet firmly planted in mid-air.

Fear is a universal phenomenon and the Bible fore-saw all this turbulence currently around us and its potential effect on health: “Men’s hearts will fail them for fear and for looking upon those things which are coming on the earth…” (Luke 21:26). But Scripture also counsels us not succumb to this fear because it is not from God. It is the Enemy’s weapon against us:  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” (2 Timothy1:7). By implication, therefore, fear debilitates us, incites (often) unjustified suspicion and resentment against others, and destabilizes the mind. An antidote for this is found in In Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you,” (Isaiah 41:10). Knowing and trusting that our Father, the One who created our bodies and holds up the universe in its place, has pledged to help us is the pathway to peace and mental health.

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