Monday, February 27, 2017

THE PERSPECTIVES OF PASTORS: Be of Good Cheer

Mass shootings, domestic political unrest, instability in threatening countries, and the occasional heath scare…listen to the news and we live in scary times. For many it is quite easy to become discouraged or cynical about the future. The speed and access to information via social networks can quickly bring home feelings of fear and anxiety about our life, our country, our future and the future of our kids. It can cause us to question, to worry and to wonder if it’s ever going to get better.

THE PERSPECTIVES OF PASTORS: Be of Good Cheer

Yet, interestingly we are not the only generation to worry and that as individuals we are certainly not the first to question. Mankind has been doing this for a long, long time. So, what are we to do when we look at all of the troublesome things that surround us?

More than two thousand years ago twelve newly called apostles were probably feeling just about the same way. Jesus had explained on more than one occasion to these disciples the scary future that he and the church would imminently face. The agonies of Gethsemane, the betrayal by one of their own, the future arrest, trail, judgement and crucifixion of their Master not to mention all of the personal persecution, false accusations and eventual murders that certainly awaited them. How? How could one stare such gloom in the face and still have hope? Sensing such apprehensions, Christ responded to the worry of the twelve and provided these comforting words, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


Not too much later, the Apostle Paul found himself having similar worries while sitting in prison, facing a trial for sedition with many plotting his eminent death. In the midst of all this, Christ appears and comforts once again, “Be of good cheer,” confirming to Paul that not only will he be freed from prison but he will yet preach in Rome (Acts 23:11).
THE PERSPECTIVES OF PASTORS: Be of Good Cheer

The commandment to be of good cheer is God’s way of telling us that ultimately He is in charge. Sure, all of his children on this earth have been given the gift of free agency, and some will use this to cause even the most faithful pain, discomfort and fear, but God sees the bigger picture. He knows that these tribulations will build, strengthen and develop us, much like Michelangelo knew David was in the rock when he “merely carved away everything that wasn’t David.”

So let’s be a people of good cheer. Let’s keep the faith when others falter, to be true when we feel forsaken, to keep our heads up high when so many hang low. Not only does God command it, but there is so much to be hopeful for. Jesus has overcome the world. The atonement has been accomplished. Death has been defeated through Christ’s resurrection. Truly the gospel that the twelve and Paul preached is the “Good News” that is so needed today.




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