I am not a born smiler.
You know the type of person. They can smile even while you tell them you saw a hawk grab a bunny off the lawn in front of several children.
I used to think smiling meant joy. Once you finally vaulted enough hurdles to reach Christian maturity, you received your constant smile. On the flipside I thought those who didn’t smile much must not understand joy.
After all, if someone has a personal relationship with Jesus, has eternity secured and knows they have the Holy Spirit as a helper and guide, shouldn’t it be a 24/7 smile-a-thon?
And if I wasn’t smiling, what did it say about my own joy in relationship with Christ?
I was confusing happiness for joy.
It’s not hard to do. We confuse so many other things with joy . . . wealth, sex and accolades to name a few. If we just have a little bit more of these, we would have more joy right?
Not quite. Each of these can only carry somebody so far and while offering temporary satisfaction, they are fleeting. Get a little and we’ll want more.
They might even become an idol to us and these idols aren’t soul satisfying.
If we idolize ourselves, stuff and others as a way to achieve happiness, then I’m ok with not smiling.
No, I’d rather have joy.
Joy and Sorrow Aren’t Strangers
Tribulations and trials will continue, even after somebody has come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For the Christian, there will be sorrow. We see a few examples here.
“Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.” – Ecclesiastes 7:3
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
Maybe you find yourself in a trial today and the last thing you need is for somebody to tell you to smile and be happy. However, you would like to know how to have joy.
In a relationship with Christ, joy is always available to us. It is a product of hope we have in God who can soothe the sorrow we face and bring about joy and peace.
Romans 15:13 promises this.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
The Eyes Have It
Matthew 6:22 says:
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
Some of the most mature Christians I’ve met don’t always smile. It’s often in their eyes that I can see the peaceful countenance brought on by their hope in God despite what they are going through. The eyes don’t lie.
Through your trial today, you can find real joy as you trust in God.
Don’t worry about smiling through it.