I’m sure you’ve heard it repeatedly if you’ve been in church very long. Christians ought to be joyful. People should look at us and want what we have. What kind of witnesses are we if we go around looking miserable all the time?
I don’t disagree with that, but it has to be more than superficial. I think about it when I’m out somewhere wearing one of the several Christian themed shirts that my wife has bought me over the years. Last night was a typical example. It wasn’t the one in the picture, but I’m sure I’ve been in the same situation wearing that particularly relevant message.
Grocery shopping, especially when the store is crowded, can be a stressful experience for Linda and me. What used to be a joy when we were just getting to know each other and she was helping me quickly became a hated chore for both of us for different reasons. Over time we’ve learned to do it and at least come home still friends, and we’re both grateful for the other’s help. She can see it and I can reach it. But it’s still something we tend to put off until necessity demands it.
So once again last evening I was walking through the store and became conscious of the frown I was wearing. I made a conscious effort several times to replace the frown with a smile, but it didn’t reach my heart and so didn’t stay long.
What I need is perspective. Walking through that store is indicative of God’s abundant blessing in my life. Where do I start? Roughly 70% of blind people are unemployed. We are buying what we want and we will pay for it with money we made. We arrived ere in a van adapted so that Linda can drive it and we aren’t dependent on public transportation. Every time we see a bus on the way, Linda says, “There’s the bus we’re not on!” We were on it for a while a couple of years back.
I am with my wife who I love and who loves me. We have one of the happiest and most peaceful marriages I know of. She is a woman of rare strength and integrity and I am blessed beyond measure to be married to her.
I could go on. My life is full of blessing. I live in a country where, though that freedom IS under assault, we still have the freedom to live as we choose. I thank God often for the wise and bodly parents who raised me. As the years go by I see more and more how His hand orchestrated even my own failures to bring me to the place where He wanted me to be. Shame on me for that fake smile. I have good reason for rejoicing. Most of all, I will delight that Jesus is our Lord. The day will come when the sufferings of this temporal life will seem trivial. Though I don’t believe they are. They are part of the process that God uses to form the character that we will take with us into eternity.
So the next time you encounter one of those little or not so little bumps in the road of life, think about the fact that you’re on the road. Remember to let God do the driving, and delight in the destination.