Monday, June 11, 2012

Why we can be of good cheer (part 1)

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.
5.     When we are forgiven, we are in good standing with the Lord. 

You can read rest below:


Ramona Gordy said...

I hope you are working through your trials. I love the comfort of the Savior when he says that "it is for a small moment". So that helps me to dig in and hang in there harder.
I also love when Jesus comforts us by addressing us as "Little children", because we are. Life is hard, and for myself, just when I feel I can "walk out of my door of safety", I have to brace myself for all that the world throws at me. I am trying to not be afraid, but I note that although he wants us not to be afraid, we should not be fearless. It is healthy to have fear, we just need to bundle it up and take it to the Lord.

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks RGG.

chococatania said...

This is helpful. There are times when I am feeling a little down in the dumps, too. The interesting thing is, especially in light of reading these two blog posts, we are reminded so much to be of good cheer because of what the Savior has done for us.

It makes me realize that our discontent comes - not from our situations, necessarily, but from the temptation to discount the power of the atonement in our lives.

This reminds me how hard the adversary works to keep us from having confidence in the power of the atonement - and how much he wants us to be miserable. Of course he won't tempt you or me or other like-minded people to go out and drink a beer or stop going to church. Instead, we will be beset by feelings of depression or despondency - forgetting the miracle of the atonement and the happiness that it brings. (Even if happiness comes at a future point)...

Thanks for the post!

Michaela Stephens said...

You're so right, Catania; Satan does work to try to get us to discount the power of Christ's atonement in our lives. He wants us to doubt it to keep us from mustering the faith to depend on it.