We often find counsel in the scriptures to “rejoice” and “be of good cheer.” The Lord tells us in 2 Nephi 2:25, “Men are, that they might have joy.” The purpose of this life is to lead us to the joy the Lord ultimately promises.
Being of good cheer does not mean being ignorant or naive to life’s challenges. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described cheerfulness as “a deep trust in God’s unfolding purposes—not only for all of mankind, but for each of us as individuals.”1 Challenges will certainly come, for they are a natural part of mortality, but we don’t have to be weighed down by discouragement and sadness. We can put our trust in the Lord and be positive.
Jesus Christ promised us we would experience tribulation, but He also urged, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) taught that because we have the gospel, “we as Latter-day Saints should be the most optimistic and the least pessimistic.”2
We all feel sorrow and discouragement from time to time, but we can still be of good cheer. Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “I witness that with faith in the Savior and obedience to His teachings, happiness never ends, but sadness does.”3 We can live with joy knowing that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” (D&C 121:7).
As we put our trust in God’s plan for us and choose to live with a positive attitude, our ability to deal with life’s challenges will be strengthened. Our worries and fears will affect us less, and we will experience the joy He wants for us.
The scriptures and the prophets teach us ways we can be positive:
A true fulness of joy comes only through God (see D&C 101:36). As we turn to Him, our hearts will change.
Keeping our focus on God is not a one-time occurrence. We must make and consistently keep covenants, such as worthily partaking of the sacrament every week.
We, like Nephi, can delight in the scriptures (2 Nephi 4:15–16). Reading the words of God and His prophets will lift our hearts.
God blesses each of our lives (see Psalm 145:9). We can strive to be aware of His tender mercies in our lives.
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) encouraged us to “speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults” and to “more generously compliment virtue and effort.”4
Choose to Be Happy
“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. … We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Living the Abundant Life,” Ensign, Jan. 2012, 4.
Neal A. Maxwell, “But a Few Days” (address given to CES Religious Educators, Sept. 10, 1982), 4.
Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 65.
Richard G. Scott, “Finding Joy in Life,” Ensign, May 1996, 26.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Continuing Pursuit of Truth,” Ensign, Apr. 1986, 4.