“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast . . . . A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:15 & 30)
Could it be that we can all choose cheerfulness? By personality type some people seem predisposed to see more of the dreariness of life while others seem predisposed to see more of the delightfulness. However, I believe that ultimately it is our choice that determines our degree of cheerfulness. We don’t have to live in perpetual dismay; in fact, the Lord clearly tells us not to! “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
The leaders I mentor are all facing tough times right now, the toughest in our leadership lifetime! If anyone ever needs more documentation of bad news, I’ve always got some. Not a day goes by that I’m not deeply disturbed, not only by national news, but even more by some of the behind the scene reports I hear from church leaders near and far. These are hard times, and I almost decided to address a few that I find especially disturbing. But then God’s Word helped me to reframe everything. That’s not an uncommon result of my morning reading, but I found it especially timely today.
Life is a non-stop litany of hard hits and heart hits, but Jesus said: “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” So, that’s what I did this morning. After a deep dive in Scripture I then did a quick review of the local and national news. Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s not good. However, as I reviewed my various news feeds, I found myself approaching them with a determined cheerfulness. I read today’s news against the banner of my Lord’s call to take heart - He has overcome the world!
No one escapes hard times. I once was embarrassed after sharing some of my laments and complaints only to learn that the man I was talking with had been riddled with a series of tragedies far beyond anything I had endured. When I apologized for my whining, he surprised me by saying, “That’s okay, everyone has their own definition of hard.” I was humbled by his grace.
Life is hard for everyone, but God is good! That’s why the Psalmist said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” That refrain is repeated three times in Psalm 42 and 43 as we see the man talking to himself to cheer up!
What have you been saying to yourself lately? Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a physician turned pastor, said: “The central cause of spiritual depression is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself!” I for one need to talk to myself every day, all day. The message I repeatedly need to hear is clear:
- “Cheer up - there is One who redeems all things!”
- “Cheer up - the position of Savior has been taken!”
- "Cheer up - now is not forever!”
- “Cheer up - the purpose of the Lord will prevail!”
- “Cheer up - by God’s grace the best is yet to be!”
- “Cheer up - Jesus has overcome the world!”
I hope you are determining to have a cheerful day!