Life can be tough. When troubles last longer than expected, our hearts weaken with discouragement. Fifteen years ago, I was so sick with pain-wracked fibromyalgia, I began to face the world through a narrow lense of illness and its limitations.
I couldn’t work. I couldn’t do more than one errand at a time. I couldn’t swing at the park with my little girl. I would gingerly perch on a park bench, aching intensely, and call out encouragement, counting the minutes until I could lie down again. Life was tough then, plumb filled up with “couldn’ts”.
Jesus came to a nation without walk in clinics, hospitals or modern medicine. As the only guaranteed Healer in town, Jesus surprises us by often saying first, “Cheer Up!”.
“Be of good cheer, daughter”, He said to the woman who had spent every penny she had, trying to stop bleeding which had embarrassed and stigmatized her for twelve long years. “Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well at that hour. (Matthew 9:22)
“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven”, He said to the young paralyzed man laying before Him on his mat ( Matthew 9:2). ” Arise, take up your bed, and go home”. Immediately he arose, took up the bed and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God. (Mark 2:11)
To His terrified disciples who met Jesus walking on the water in the midst of a contrary storm, Jesus spoke to them, saying “Cheer up! I AM! Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, WEB) In other words, “Get excited, guys, God’s here. You have no worries.” And when Peter and Jesus both climbed into the boat, the wind ceased. Then they worshipped Him, saying “Truly, You are the Son of God.”
Jesus cured the sick. He raised the dead.
The good news is the cheerful truth is that Love has come down. Love came to earth as Jesus Christ and this changes every perspective, every dream, every viewpoint.
Rome was intent on crushing them, and before them, the Greeks just about annihilated the nation God loves. Babylon almost wiped the Jews off the earth. Things haven’t changed.
Desperate to show their difference, Israel lived a drudgery of rules, oppressed by religious leaders who heaped on expectations and then cruelly inspected to see if these conditions were met. Israel was one desperate flock of scattered hurting sheep.
Jesus grew up in these crushing times and persevered all the way to that bloody cross. When preparing for his death and resurrection, Jesus told his beloved friends,
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Cheer Up, Jesus says. I have overcome and so will you.
What lenses are you using to see your world today?
This spring, do you see only muddy footprints on a newly washed kitchen floor? Or are you looking at the garden for hidden bulbs to bloom?
Do you see only life’s disappointments or do you see the magnificent daily grace God sprinkles all through today?
Can you believe through your pain that the Healer is here and that He loves you, the one He has intentionally and wonderfully made?
Cheer up, friend.
It’s time to look again.