A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)
Recently, with all the talk of finding a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, I did some research on the difference between a medicine and a vaccine. Basically, a vaccine is preventative, and medicine is for treatment. In my opinion, this makes a “cheerful heart” both a medicine and a vaccine.
As wonderful as many medicines and vaccines are, they can have side effects. However, a cheerful heart has no undesirable side effects. In fact, there is a growing amount of evidence that is strongly indicating a link between a cheerful happy outlook and attitude and better health. Not only do people with a cheerful heart stay healthier, but there seems to be a strong link between a person’s attitude and how quickly they recover from major illness or surgery. Once again let’s see what Solomon has to say: “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30 (NIV)
For some people, the idea of a cheerful heart seems so distant. Perhaps you are facing difficulties and trials, even some things that no one else knows about. Maybe you are discouraged that your life has not gone the way you planned. You tell people that Job had nothing on you when it comes to suffering and disappointment. Perhaps you relate to what Job said, “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.” Job 6:2-3 (NLT)
How can we be someone of good cheer? How do we get some of that medicine? Is there any way for us to be of good cheer even when our circumstances would seem to indicate otherwise? Is it possible to have a cheerful heart that is not affected by circumstances, but is solely focused on Christ? Listen to Peter, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)
At the root of having a cheerful heart is the understanding that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to be our salvation. Our primary reason for having a cheerful heart is because of him. “Every good and perfect gift comes from him.” “He is the wellspring of salvation.” “He is our peace, who has broken down every wall.” “He is the author and finisher of our faith.” “He is the Almighty and everlasting God.” Just to name a few things that should begin to cheer our hearts.
It won’t always be easy, but for the sake of others and for the sake of Christ who loved me so much, let us strive to have cheerful hearts regardless of the circumstances. Remember that a cheerful heart is not only good medicine that can treat our illnesses, it is also a preventative vaccine. These are difficult times for many people, among many, there is great fear and anxiety. It is difficult for some to have a cheerful heart, sometimes because of things beyond their control. However, when we put things in the perspective of eternity, it becomes clearer and easier to understand.