DayBreaks for 9/10/19: Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:
I have spent some time lately with some very discouraged and unhappy people. Let’s be honest: if we look at this world for very long at all, there is much to get discouraged about! Disease and death, disappointment, rejection, mistakes in judgment, financial challenges, relationship difficulties…you know the score. Life is tough.
In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason said: “In short, Scripture never suggests (unlike many churchgoers) that the wearing of a cheerful countenance is a good tonic for the world. On the contrary, in Ecclesiastes we read, Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart (7:3). How is it we have bought the lie that a Christian’s face is only publicly presentable when the corners of the mouth are pushed up? The Apostle James actually exhorts us to …grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom’ (4:9). As the poet Emily Dickinson put it in her trenchant style, ‘I like the look of Agony, because I know it’s true.’
“Undoubtedly Scripture exhorts us to ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ and to ‘Be of good cheer.’ Yet nowhere are we commanded to ‘put on a happy face.’”
We are encouraged to rejoice because we know our names are written in heaven. We are not to delight in the suffering per se, but in what the suffering is building into our character, knowing that the Lord has a perfect plan for us that will result in wholeness some day. In the meantime, false cheerfulness may lead to charges of hypocrisy. Job and David knew what it was to hurt and to weep and wail as a result. But they also knew that they couldn’t stay with their focus on themselves and their troubles indefinitely or the burden would have become crushing. They eventually lifted their eyes upwards to receive the help they needed in the time of their greatest pain.
God doesn’t deny you the right to be honest about your feelings. Quite the opposite! He wants you to be honest with yourself and with him and others about them. It is only then that He can begin to shape us into the image of the Suffering Servant who offers His joy to the entire world.
PRAYER: Let us be honest with our pain and hopeful in our upward glances! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>