I love to laugh; there is something about it that just feels good. Smiling is also a pleasant sensation, especially when an unexpected delight grabs my attention. These “feel good” times are still part of my life, but they come far less frequently than in the past, which distresses some who know me. It seems they think I have little joy. The thing to note is this…
It is true that my face does not smile as much as it used to; I am not sure the smiling muscles work when my head hurts, my brain is foggy, and my energy is null. However, my soul is smiling; it is praising God for my salvation.(Learning to Be Content)
In this way, I am “sorrowful, yet rejoicing” as Paul was (2 Cor. 6:10). He had experienced many trials (2 Cor. 6:4-9), but knew that his salvation was his source of joy. Peter knew this as well:
…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials…(1 Peter 1:5-6, bold font mine)
Jesus had joy while He suffered on the cross because He knew the joy of heaven was coming (Heb. 12:2). Although this joy comforted Him, my guess is that He did not have a smile on His face while nails were pierced through His hands and feet and His lungs were collapsing.
My suffering has caused me to turn my eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). He is not only my example for how to rejoice, but also my Savior. I rejoice in the God of my salvation with a smile in my soul.
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.