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`BE OF GOOD CHEER’ DURING HARD TIMES

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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

In Even as I Am, Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote of the experience of Paul in jail after having borne his testimony before a powerful political group in Jerusalem when Jesus stood by and counseled him to "be of good cheer."Elder Maxwell asked why Jesus would have given such counsel. "Had not Paul been struck on the mouth at Ananias's order? Were not forty Jews plotting his death? Did not his trial for sedition lie just ahead? And also Paul's shipwreck? Cheerfulness was possible because Paul had done well in his ministry in Jerusalem and now was ready for Rome, where he would also testify with great power and persuasive authority. Let the intervening, tactical tribulation come!

"This lesson about justifiable cheerfulness even amid perilous passages apparently had been driven home to Paul, for during his voyage to Rome, he assured his fearful shipmates that not one of them would lose their lives, though their ship would be lost. Therefore, he encouraged them to `be of good cheer' in the midst of their anxieties, and his prophecy was fulfilled.

"It remains for us, therefore, to be of good cheer even when, as was the case with the original Twelve, current circumstances seem hopeless. In fact, seemingly sad circumstances may actually reflect implementation, not disintegration. Indeed, the unfolding of God's purposes may require the collapse of other things.

"How often is it necessary for dismantling to occur in order for something better to be put in place? Was there ever a remodeling without distress and inconvenience? Was there ever fulfillment without certain things coming to an end? Moreover, the fundamental causes for such rejoicing and gospel gladness are clearly the same for us as for our predecessors.

"Even when, momentarily, we lose our grip on gospel gladness, the Lord is long-suffering. We can regain lost perspective, favoring once again in our way of living that which is everlasting, not fleeting; the unending, not the momentary. By forgoing now, we can possess more later."

Elder Maxwell wrote further: "The storm fronts that come into our lives will not last forever. We can surmount the drifts of difficulties and we can hold out if we maintain our perspective and faith. But while we are in the midst of all these things, the experiences that can be for our long-term good are very, very real. We may feel that such are simply more than we can bear. Yet if we have faith in an all-knowing and all loving God, we understand He will not give us more than we can bear."