“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
– Proverbs 17:22 [KJV]
In the times we are living in right now, if you want reasons to be depressed, anxious, and fearful, you won’t fall short of finding them. Conversely, with everything going on around the world, especially relating to the devastating impact of COVID-19, it is almost impossible to have a positive outlook on the future.
Furthermore, from earthquakes to hurricanes and civil unrest, the news is always there to provide an hourly update and reminder of one disaster after another.
With all that is going on, issues with mental health have become more prevalent as people struggle to deal with the adverse situations we’ve all had to endure. However, this is not something strange or unheard of. In the Bible, Jesus warns that “People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world…”
– Luke 21:26 [NIV]
As believers, how do we remain joyful in the moment and hopeful for the future?
A grateful heart is a shield against negative emotions that threaten to overwhelm us. When you are thankful, you are happier.
A grateful heart cannot be depressed because it is constantly remembering things to be thankful for.
A grateful heart is a shield against bad memories. When you are grateful, you meditate on the positive aspects of your life, which forms a barrier against negative thoughts.
Saying all this is easy, but I know first-hand the struggle it is to be grateful. I lost my dad to the Coronavirus in June of this year. He was a medical doctor, and in the line of duty, he contracted the virus. Consequently, my whole family (except myself) fell sick, and my mum was also hospitalized.
Needless to say, it was the toughest moment of my life, and when dad died, I was anything but grateful. After the initial shock, I harbored resentment against God, and it kept me from seeking the Holy Spirit for comfort.
But in the midst of it, I still felt and heard God speaking to me. And although it took me a while, I eventually realized that the unsolicited comfort I received from God was indeed something for which to be grateful.
When bad things happen to you, do you allow them to influence your perception of God’s character negatively?
So, though it may be challenging to reach that point of being grateful, once you get there, your immunity against negative thoughts that want to rob you of joy increases.