Every once in a while I get in a blue funk and get discouraged. At these times, I need something to cheer me up. A while ago I began to notice that from time to time in the scriptures the Lord would tell his disciples to be of good cheer. Recently I decided that I needed to study all the incidences in the scriptures where “be of good cheer” occurs to see if I could find some commonalities between them and to see what cause was given to be of good cheer. My hope was that I could find something that would keep me from falling into discouragement while in difficulty (preferred) or something that could get me out of discouragement if I fell in.
26 And when the disciples saw him [Jesus] walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Matt. 14:26-27, emphasis added)
Why is it reason to be of good cheer for the disciples to know that the entity walking on the water is Jesus and not a spirit? They can be of good cheer because it means that their fears were groundless. They were alarmed by something that wasn’t so. How does this help us today? Might there be times in our lives when we fear something unexpected and unusual (and seemingly impossible) that turns out to be the Lord working miracles in our lives?
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, emphasis added)
It might be discouraging to be told you were going to have tribulation. Jesus says here the reason we can be of good cheer is that He has overcome the world. This may cause us to ask, “Why am I to be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world? How are these two things connected?” I suppose Jesus’s victory means that the Atonement is worked out so that we don’t have to be forever in slavery to Satan And because Jesus overcame the world, He can help us overcome the world too. So that means tribulation is only a temporary thing, and that’s a very good reason to be of good cheer.
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (Matt. 9:2, emphasis added)
The man with the palsy is told to be of good cheer because he is forgiven of his sins. That means his prospects in the next life have improved drastically. Knowing you are in good standing in the Lord’s eyes is definitely a reason to be of good cheer. (Further, we know that physical healing is just around the corner for this man, which is further reason to be of good cheer.)
So, to review. We can be of good cheer because
1. The Lord is at work doing miracles in our lives.
2. Jesus has overcome the world.
3. Jesus can help us overcome the world.
4. Tribulation is only temporary.