I’ve recently been struggling with what the doctor tells me is Athlete’s Foot. You know, at this point of my life, I am glad to be associated with the word athlete no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
So I’ve been using this over the counter stuff and it works, but when I stop using it, the Athlete's Foot immediately returns. So, I went back to my doctor and told him, “You know, I need something more powerful to kick this thing. I'd like to completely get rid of it.”
He said, "Ok, I’m going to give you the most powerful drug on the market."
After I got the prescription filled, I read the little paper that came with it. It contained a list of all of the weird things this drug might do to those who administer it.
There, I also found the results of a controlled study. Sixty percent of the people found the drug effective. Of course, in a controlled study, there are those who are given a placebo, instead. Forty-four percent of those who took the placebo also found it effective.
I was amazed to read that forty-four percent of the time the placebo did the job. That’s almost as good as the actual medication! As I considered those numbers, I thought to myself, that is an illustration of the power of hope!
When we expect something to help us, it is incredible how helpful that can be all by itself. Hope, even an empty hope, can change our lives for the better.
Perhaps, the next time I see my doctor, I should tell him, “Listen, just give me a prescription for the placebo. It’s cheaper and it’s almost as effective!”
Of course, the problem with this idea is that once we are aware that we are taking a placebo, it doesn't work! Right? The Placebo Effect requires a genuine belief. The medicine doesn't have to be genuine but the hope does. Without a sincere belief, there is no Placebo Effect.
This tells us that the Placebo Effect is really the Hope Effect. And if hope is powerful without anything behind it, think of how much more powerful it will be when the words of God are behind it!
"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31).