How many of you have ever smiled? I’m going to take a wild guess we all have, at least once or twice. How many have smiled even when you weren’t happy? It happens all the time; people don’t want to discuss their issues or don’t want others to know something is wrong. For whatever reason they smile to make those around them believe they are fine. There are many people I know that do not serve God and they smile. Some of them smile ALL THE TIME, they are bubbly, happy, cheerful, whatever word you want to use. The thing is they have no joy, happiness is far away, and yet they smile.
I often hear from those in the ministry that as a christian I should smile and then I hear that’s one of the ways people will know I’m a christian. They’ll see that I’m happy and will know that I serve God. What?! Show me that scripture, go ahead I’ll wait. Having trouble finding it are you? Yep, me too. Do you know how many times that the Bible says the word smile? I looked it up for you, the answer is zero. Before I go any further, I understand where these ministers were coming from. They were saying that serving God should make us happy and I agree. They believe that walking around looking angry or mad isn’t the best witness. I gotta agree with that. What I don’t agree with is that if I’m not smiling I don’t have the joy of the Lord. I don’t agree that simply smiling allows the world to know I am a christian.
Here’s what I do believe though. I believe that God is able to give me peace that I can never understand, no matter how hard I try. I believe that in my worst moments God is still there and will never leave me. I believe that my saviour lives. I believe in my darkest hour, when my heart seems to be ripped from my chest, I can still have the joy of the Lord. If that doesn’t sound backwards I don’t know what does! I believe that while sitting at a funeral or watching the casket of a loved one go into the ground, God’s joy and peace can be present. I believe that I can have tears streaming down my face and yet I can still have assurance that my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and that gives me joy!
Such a paradox, isn’t it? Agony and joy at the same moment. How is that even possible? My joy in the Lord comes not from tangible items, but from deep within my soul. While a part of me can feel pain, agony, disappointment, there is a piece that even in those moments clings to Christ. In that place I feel His strength, power, protection, peace, and love. How can l not feel joy there?