September 18, 2019
I read that Alfred Henry Ackley wrote 1,500 hymns. One of them begins with this line: “You can smile when you can’t say a word.” Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Years ago, a friend told me to “smile and people will wonder what you are up to.” There is power in a smile.
A member of our church family is battling cancer. A very active person all of her life, she said, “I can’t do anything, so I just want to have this be over.” I reminded her that she is useful to God even in this part of her life journey – her example makes an impact and her smile is powerful. She said, “I have no anxiety,” which shows her confidence in her Savior Jesus.
This kind of smile is different from a phony smile that is “painted” on our face but covers a broken heart – a “crushed spirit.” We may need to present a cheerful presence for a time in certain circumstances, but more often, a genuine appearance, even with tears, will show integrity.
It is interesting to observe the difference when a person with a genuine smile walks into a room filled with hurting people. No words, just a tender, for-real smile coming from a cheerful heart. It displays a sense of confidence and hope in the midst of whatever is going on. It is “good medicine” for “crushed spirits.”
Followers of Jesus have many reasons to smile, regardless of our circumstances. We have accepted Jesus’ death and resurrection, so our sin is removed forever. We have Peace with God and the Peace of God. We have the hope of Heaven, which reminds us that life on Planet Earth is temporary.
Perhaps a “ministry of smiling” will be our best usefulness to God today. I am encouraged by that possibility.
Pastor Bill Ehmann