Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.
The Bible declares itself to be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. But how does that 'flesh itself out' in my daily life?
Simply stated, I can trust the instruction from the Word to guide my thoughts and actions throughout the day. For instance: "Is anyone out there suffering?" Well, according to the Bible, you must pray. The cure for suffering is prayer. We can suffer from any number of maladies, but the answer to all suffering is prayer. Whether the suffering is emotional pain from a broken relationship or spiritual suffering from unconfessed sin, God says the answer is prayer. Notice that it wasn't a simple 'suggestion' but rather a command, "he MUST pray".
What the bible is telling me is that my suffering can ONLY BE RESOLVED THROUGH PRAYER. If there were other 'options' available, the bible would have said, "Is anyone out there suffering? You might try praying." However, there are no other options to conquer our suffering other than to take it to the one who can put an end to suffering. We MUST pray. The suffering that is spoken of here is the kind of suffering that robs us of our peace. The reason we take our suffering to the Lord, according to scripture is that "the chastisement of our peace was upon Him". Jesus has already paid in blood to take away the suffering of His children.
Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. The direct opposite of having lost our joy is to be joy-filled. That's what the word 'cheerful' means. It means that my inner countenance is bubbling over with happiness. But why would the bible instruct me to sing when I'm cheerful? It is difficult to offer hope to others when you yourself are suffering. It is difficult to encourage someone else when your soul needs encouragement.
Colossians 3:16 (NASB95)
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
When I am singing, the bible isn't talking about just any old song. It is talking about spiritual songs that are born out of the "word of Christ". When I sing those songs, it not only continues to promote my cheerful heart, but it also instructs and admonishes those around me. Those songs serve as instructions for daily living.
So, If I'm suffering, I MUST PRAY. If I'm cheerful, I am to sing. In whatever condition you find yourself today, try the appropriate biblical response and see what great things God does in your life!