We all face trouble at some time or another, and how we respond to it often determines the outcome. The natural tendency is to respond with fear, panic, or dismay, but that is the world’s way of reacting to trouble. As God’s people who have been empowered to think differently, our response should be supernatural. Refusing to be moved by trouble gives us victory over it.
We don’t have to passively sit back when trouble hits; instead, we can go on the offensive and deliberately respond in a way most people wouldn’t expect. Trouble is the devil’s attempt to instill fear in us, but choosing to be cheerful in the face of adversity frustrates and defeats him. The apostle Paul had plenty of reason to fear when he was arrested for preaching the Gospel of Grace and found himself in the middle of a mob bent on killing him. After being put in prison, he received direction from the resurrected Jesus. “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).
Paul refused to let dangerous situations intimidate him. When he finally was able to set sail to Italy, his boat was caught in a tempest that threatened to sink it. Instead of giving in to fear, he chose to agree with the Word of God. “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” (Acts 27:22-25). Paul’s confidence stemmed from the knowledge that God’s Word is the ultimate truth, and that nothing can overcome it or change it.
It’s significant that his exhortation to be of good cheer accompanied the commandment not to fear. Many people fear trouble because of its potential to harm and bring destruction but, because we are in Jesus, trouble is powerless to hurt us. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:16, 18). We don’t have to be afraid, because our heavenly Father protects us and delivers us from trouble.
No one is exempt from trouble, but we defeat it when we respond supernaturally. During His earthly ministry, Jesus repeatedly told others to be of good cheer in the midst of tough times (Matthew 9:2; Mark 6:47-50; Luke 8:43-48, NKJV; John 16:33). Responding in this manner may feel strange and uncomfortable in the natural, but lining up our thinking with God’s Word changes everything. We can completely trust that God will bring us out of whatever bad situation we’re in, no matter how gloomy it looks, because He always honors that trust. Responding cheerfully is a powerful weapon against the enemy. When we do this in faith, we position ourselves to receive supernatural protection.