Be of Good Cheer
A perspective on happiness.
By Chosen Vessel
ne of God’s biggest gifts to us is Life. God gave us Life so that we can live it in joy. Oftentimes I find that difficult to believe and to understand. It seems like everyone else gets it but me. I know people who are closer to God than I am. I know people who are better at school or work than I am. And I know people who have a stronger will and determination than I do. Why then should I be happy? Even in temptation, I am weak and I continue to fail. Life is full of struggles, temptation, broken hearts, catastrophes, failures, and the list goes on.
God Himself tells us that in this world we will have tribulation, but to “be of good cheer” (John 16:33). How Lord? How can we “be of good cheer”? How can we “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4)? I think the problem is that we sometimes subconsciously define our happiness according to this world’s standards. We’re happy when we get a good grade, or find a good job, or get promoted, or fall in love, or get married, or have children, or even when we get a nice gift. I think we are allowed to enjoy all these things that God gives, but we cannot define our happiness by them.
We can’t become depressed when we’re having difficulty finding a job. We can’t despair when we’ve been waiting a long time for that special someone to share our lives with. And we can’t give up when we consistently fall into the same sin. Yes, even though we often fail to overcome sin and we become so angry with ourselves to the point of desperation, I know that this is not what God wants. No matter how low we sink, God still wants us to be happy. No matter how many times we try to change and repeatedly fail — whether it’s changing the way we look, changing our habits, changing our environment, or all of the above — God still gives us the hope of a life of joy. He wants us to get back up again. He’s the one who commanded us to forgive your brother “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:22).
So if He asks this of us, then won’t He be even more forgiving and understanding, never growing weary of our requests? He’s the One who gave the example of the persistent widow in Luke 18 who received her due reward as a result of her relentless pleas. Then how much more is He willing to help us when we ask? Though I think few have attained the level of rejoicing always in the Lord, this is how God calls us to live. The devil loves to make us feel down and defeated constantly but “do not rejoice over me my enemy; when I fall, I will arise.” (Micah 7:8) It is easy to be sad but it’s difficult to be happy. No matter what life throws at us, we need God’s help in learning to always “[rejoice] in hope, [be] patient in tribulation, [while] continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12). May God help us in our struggle to learn to truly rejoice in Him.