«For thus says the Lord: ‘Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations’ (Jeremiah 31:7).
In the Scriptures, the messages of pain are followed by messages of encouragement.
We must remember that we live in a world of pain but researcher it is still possible to enjoy on the peace and joy offered by God. Sonja Lyubomirsky is a researcher who focuses on the area of positive psychology. From her lab at University of California, she conducted various studies which reveal the power of certain behaviors in order to achieve a state of well-being: expressing gratitude, learning to forgive, in lift practicing acts of kindness, nurturing relationships, enjoying the small things practicing religion, cultivating positive feelings, among others. Her research is synthesized in her book The How of Happiness, published by Penguin Press in 2008. Although her studies do not focus on religion or spirituality, her recommendations are very similar to those promoted by religion.
Even though there is a general belief that material wealth is the source of happiness, results of studies do not confirm this idea. Nickerson and his colleagues’ work which was published in Psychological Science (2003) describes the attitude of 12,000 university students before and after two decades. Those who expressed financial aspirations in their student years (their main goal was making money) showed lower life satisfaction after twenty years than those who had non-materialistic goals. The task of building wealth absorbs you. The American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) erected mansions for the wealthiest families in the world. Thus, he was able observe their lifestyle and character closely. In the end, he wrote: «Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.» Any of us can and up being a permanent janitor, cleaner and caregiver of our assets. When the accumulation of goods becomes significant, the possibility of loss and misfortunes also increases and the pain caused by these losses is dee er (most depressions originate in losses, even though they are not always economic.
Today’s verse urges us to be cheerful, joyful and to rejoice in the Lord. communion with Jesus makes us kinder, more compassionate, generous and tolerant. As a consequence, it makes us more capable of enjoying life and walking on the footprints of the Teacher from Nazareth.
Today, let us get closer to Jesus to receive the level of cheer, joy and rejoicing provided by His companionship. This will also take us away from the restlessness and melancholy that frequently lead us to these situations.