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How to “Be of Good Cheer” During Difficult Times

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Throughout the scriptures, followers of Jesus Christ have been invited to “be of good cheer.”

Paul received this invitation when he was smitten and imprisoned by wicked men. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. – Acts 23:11 

Believers in ancient America faced death if the sign of the birth of Christ did not appear in the sky, but were comforted as they heard the voice of the Lord. Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. – 3 Nephi 1:13

As Joseph Smith and early leaders of the Church labored to understand the restoration of Christ’s church, they were constantly told to remain optimistic in spite of their weaknesses and mistakes. And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. – Doctrine and Covenants 78:18

In modern times, the Lord continues to offer this invitation. President Thomas S. Monson said, “My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”

With so much evidence of the Lord’s desire for us to remain hopeful and happy, it can be frustrating when our experience is different. The world around us is in dire need of Christ’s love and mercy. Many face financial ruin, emotional distress, physical ailments, and family discord. We know the last days will grow increasingly dire as the adversary’s influence takes a stronger hold. How can we follow the Savior’s call to be of good cheer when we feel anything but cheerful? Here are four ideas that can help us begin the process.

Embrace God’s Grace

In the face of trial and tribulation, we often feel a great need to increase our efforts in an attempt to work our way out of a situation. While the Lord certainly wants us to do our best to follow His commandments and act in accordance with His will, He also wants us to find peace in His abundant grace. In some cases, we may not have control or the ability to make a drastic change to our circumstances. When these times come, we should try and relinquish control to Christ. We can get so caught up in so many things. By embracing the grace of God, we will be kinder to ourselves, kinder to others, and will find peace knowing God’s grace covers all people and all things. His power will eventually set all things right. Internalizing these eternal truths can help us find confidence in the goodness of God while also clearing your perspective to see the glimmers of goodness that remain in your life.

Find Some Purpose

While the experiences we are called to pass through may not always be pleasant, they can be used for our eventual good or for the good of others. Try to take a step back from yourself and discover what you can learn, what you can do, and how God can use you. When we speak of growing and learning from our trials, we can easily become selfish and focused on ourselves. It’s true that we are refined by life, but it isn’t just for our own sense of pride or betterment. More often than not, God refines us so we can be used in His plan. No greater joy comes than the selfless consecration of our lives to God. This is the opposite of what the world teaches us.

Build Happy Habits

Actively think of ways you can invite life into your light. Scripture reading, prayer, and ministering can keep your gospel light shining. Also, take time to think of what brings you moments of peace and respite. It could be a walk, listening to your favorite music, learning a new skill, or spending time with loved ones. Whatever it is, make it regular. Schedule it out and make time for it. When times get tough, try not to turn to things that numb you or further cover you in darkness. We may not always have the energy we want to act, but even the smallest efforts can be magnified by the power of God.

Look Up to Christ

Jesus Christ is the source of all good things. When His voice came to the believers in ancient America, he invited them to lift their heads. By keeping our eyes on Christ, we will receive clarity on how to balance the horrors of our lives with the miracles. Elder Yoon Hwan Choi taught us, “It is not easy for us to recognize the love of Heavenly Father when we look around with our temporal eyes, because we see inconvenience, loss, burdens, or loneliness first. On the other hand, we can see the blessings beyond when we look up.”

Look to Christ in every thought. We will still experience hurt and loss. We will be called, as He was, to walk unfair and cruel paths. However, to be of good cheer ultimately means to be safe and confident in Christ. When we allow this truth into our hearts, the peace and joy will eventually be ours forever.

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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