Has anyone ever said to you “Cheer up!”? While it seems like a nice thing to say, most people cannot “Cheer Up” on command! If something is troubling in a person’s heart or life they cannot solve it with a smile. It really doesn’t work to just “smile and be happy!” Even when we hear the bouncy tune of Bobby Ferring, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” or when someone ends an email with a smiley emoji face (and there seem to hundreds of them these days) we probably don’t instantly become happy.
Millions of people do “lose heart” and suffer from a variety of forms of depression. One estimate is that globally more than 350 million people have depression which is often defined as a mental disorder that prevents people from functioning well!
Fortunately we have a variety of helpful medical professionals to work with those who have clinical depression. We also have each other in the Body of Christ as a help and support in difficult times! Paul writes in his second letter to the people in Corinth, “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” 2Co 4:1 Paul knows how tough life can be and he knows that a happy jingle or clever emoji is not going to prevent the people in Corinth from “losing heart” Read this 4th chapter of 2Cor. and you will be encouraged and strengthened with the substantive message Paul provides!
We do not ‘lose heart” because our hope and our joy is in Christ Jesus! We are sad from time to time and we may even struggle with depression, disappointment, fear, etc (again read 2Cor. 4). We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, but our hearts are set on God’s perfect grace and mercy!
Rev. Daniel P. May, President, Indiana District-LCMS