Shortly before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, He told His apostles and disciples what would happen and what the circumstances would be. John 16:32-33 explains.
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
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.
On this Easter Sunday may we remember that Jesus Christ has “overcome the world” and made it possible that we all might do likewise. We can “be of good cheer” because Christ overcame death and hell. He overcame sickness and pain. He overcame sin. Even though we will pass through tribulation, we may have peace in our hearts because of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.
What does it mean to “be of good cheer?” Two priesthood leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explain what this phrase means. Elder Adhemar Damiani of the Quorum of the Seventy teaches the following.
As part of our mortal probation, we pass through affliction, pain, and disappointment. Only in Jesus Christ can we find peace. He can help us to be of good cheer and to overcome all the challenges of this life.
What does it mean to be of good? It means having hope, not getting discouraged, not losing faith, and living life joyfully. `Men are, that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25). It means facing life with confidence.
The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the strength and the eternal perspective to face what is coming with good cheer (“Be of Good Cheer and Faithful in Adversity,” Ensign, May 2005, 94).
Elder Damiani tells us that we are of good cheer when we have hope that things will work out for us. It means to not get discouraged while going through difficulties. It means that we should remember that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and have joy.
Elder Joe J. Christensen, then of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy, reminds us that we are commanded to “be of good cheer.”
Your level of spirituality is also directly related to how well you fill the Lord’s commandments to `Be of good cheer’ and `Life up our heart and rejoice’ (Doctrine and Covenants 31:3). How many times in the scriptures did the Lord command us to be of good cheer? He didn’t say, `Be of good cheer if everything is going well, if you have enough money to pay all your bills, if [you are feeling well],’ or whatever. No. For us to be of good cheer is a commandment and not merely a suggestion” (“Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, March 1999, 59).
Why would the Lord give us a commandment to “be of good cheer” and to “rejoice” when He knew that we would be passing through difficult times? He surely knew that mortal life would be hard for us! I believe that the answer comes through the teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley. I am often amazed at the optimism shown by all the prophets and apostles who lead the Church, but I am particularly impressed with the positivity shown by President Hinckley. He had a positive attitude about everything, even when he was facing difficulty. He often declared, “I am an optimist!” Here are some examples of his counsel to be cheerful.
My please is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.
Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.
If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us.
I have seen a good deal of this earth. … I have been in areas where war rages and hate smolders in the hearts of people. I have seen the appalling poverty that hovers over many lands. … I have watched with alarm the crumbling morals of our society. And yet I am an optimist. I have a simple and solemn faith that right will triumph and that truth will prevail.
We have every reason to be optimistic. … Look at Nauvoo. Look at what they built here in seven years and then left. But what did they do? Did they lie down and die? No! They went to work! They moved halfway across this continent and turned the soil of a desert and made it blossom as the rose. On that foundation this church has grown into a great worldwide organization affecting for good the lives of people in more than 140 nations. You can’t, you don’t, build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen. (“Gordon B. Hinckley: A Prophet of Optimism and Vision,” Liahona, Jan. 2017).
There is the answer for why the Lord commands us to “be of good cheer” and “rejoice.” We must have faith in Jesus Christ and move forward in our lives with our trust in God and hope for a better life. We must be positive in order to do good works. Otherwise, the weight of the problems of the world would hold us back and keep us from preparing for eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. “Be of good cheer” because Christ has overcome the world!