“Smile!” the photographer said. My heart wasn’t in it, but I dutifully curved my lips into ‘wanna be’ smile. Then I wondered, who gave me my first smile? Was it my mother? A panoramic view of my mother’s face flitted through my mind. Somehow a smile was not in evidence as much as her actions of joy. She skipped and jumped even into her 80’s, expressing happiness….when the bread rose just right, the apricots ripened on the tree, or when Dad hugged her for no reason at all.
Smiles are a body language all their own. We love to see a baby smile, chortle and laugh. It gives us hope and our heart is renewed. No wonder we celebrate a baby’s first smile as eagerly as learning to walk or talk. I remember watching new Grandparents speaking a ‘new’ language in an attempt to coax that smile of their new grandchild into existence. Baby's first smile, smile of falling in love, smile of parents proud, smile of achievement, smile of the joy of giving, the smile of answered love with a smile, smile of remembering sweet God-given memories and many more moments to smile.
There are so many reasons not to smile in this journey of life. Pain, of many different kinds, assail us, causing our joy of life to go into hiding. Death, sickness, loss, pain are a few of the things that are not our favorite experiences, and we wonder why. We wonder why we must go through these hurtful things. We have forgotten our first love…our first smile from God himself.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
When did he plant eternity in the human heart? Then I read this, and I know. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:13-16
As God created the earth on which we live, it is written, And God saw that it was good. Good? Yes, Good…And good can not be said without smiling. When He formed us in the womb, I can hear Him say, “It is Good”. You can’t say Good without smiling. Try it. “It is Good!” My first smile, and your first smile, came from God Almighty, the Sovereign One!
God knew just what we would live through, but He gives us hope and joy through these two verses from Psalm 30:4-5. When I read these two verses in the version, The Voice, I rejoice.
Sing, all you who remain faithful! Pour out your hearts to the Eternal with praise and melodies; let grateful music fill the air and bless His Name. His wrath, you see, is fleeting, but His grace lasts a lifetime. The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.
Sing – sing what? Sing Praise and Melodies. Who will sing? Those are to sing are those who remain faithful, godly ones and His saints. What do we sing with? With Thanksgiving and remembrances of Him. Singing about Jesus lifts the soul, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” Revelation 5:12.
How long will the pain last? It lingers through the night, it lasts a moment, or but a moment. English Standard Version gives us this in verse 5…. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
Then comes my favorite part….and it dawns on me why the morning is so full of promise and newness as God steadfastly presents the miracle of a new day in the sunrise. Each day is the new page of our story in Jesus. And why not choose to smile as we read from His Word, in the early dawn? His Presence peers over our shoulder as we read and learn of His Grace and His Promises. Do you not know that Jesus lovingly smiles, too? His love and grace are His arms that He wraps around us and gives us hope and joy in every circumstance.
The pain and suffering of the night disappear and we are left with the joy that comes with the morning. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Have you hurt so deeply that you wonder how long you can live with this hurt?
The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning….