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BECOMING A CHEERFUL CHRISTIAN
We came to this earth to become like our Heavenly Parents in every way possible. First, we needed to receive a body of flesh and blood, just like theirs. We needed to form families and make connections because that is at the center of His plan for us. But we also needed to obtain knowledge, use our agency to choose Him, and do our best to become something more than we were at the start of this journey. But none of those things can happen without pain, heartbreak, and sorrow.
Misery is an essential ingredient for happiness.
When Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, the Lord talked about how they would eat sorrow for the rest of their days and that the earth would be cursed for their sakes. This might sound like an incredibly harsh punishment from a vengeful and unloving God, but I don’t see it that way anymore. The Lord says He would do these things for their sake. Those things are for them. Their benefit. Their growth.
God loved them so much that He not only provided a Savior to save them from their mistakes, but He also took a painful situation and turned it into a learning experience.
And it was a painful situation, for both them and God.
Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, but God had to cast them out, knowing that by doing so, some of his children would not choose to come back home to Him.
I cannot imagine anything more painful. And yet, even in His pain, He was merciful to us. He provided us with every opportunity to be better, giving us a Savior for when we fall short, and allowing us a lifetime of opportunities to use our own judgment and agency, with grace available when we use that judgement and agency poorly.
The gospel is so unfair in our favor. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being amazed at it.
Every trial of faith. Every lesson in grace. Every tear. Every smile. Every blessing. Every curse on the ground that’s for our sake. It’s all about home and getting back there better (not perfect), but better than we were before. Being a cheerful Christian is about the journey home. It’s about learning from difficult circumstances, feeling the full range of human emotions, and developing a relationship with our Savior.
Cheerful Christianity does not require a constantly cheerful disposition. It requires faith in our Savior and hope that He can make us whole again, no matter the things we’ve done.
I am a cheerful Christian. I hope you’ll become one too.
The following was taken from the book Cheerful Christianity by Olivia Ruth Barney currently available at cedarfort.com.