A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13
Today, as I packed and addressed a birthday package for my niece at the post office, an older gentleman walked by. I glanced up, made eye contact, and smiled. He beamed back at me and quoted, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face!"
We chatted briefly while he waited his turn at the window, and I commented that God blesses us daily. He said, "He does! I'm 78 and here walking around!"
He completed his business at the window and returned to me, saying, "I give one of these a day, and today, I just have to give it to you. My name is Chuckles."
He handed me this.
When I shared the story with George tonight, he said, "I know that guy! He goes to the Y." He described Chuckles and speculated that he might be a retired minister. Whoever he is, he spreads joy throughout our small town, and what a wonderful blessing he gave me today.
I knew the verse Chuckles quoted, but I didn't remember the second half of it until I looked it up tonight. "A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken." Verses in Proverbs often engage in this rhetorical reversal...mentioning one thing and then its opposite. Just two verses later, we read, "All the days of the afflicted are evil, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast." Proverbs 15:15
I thought about these two emotions--joy and sorrow-- and realized that Chuckles has the right of it, going out into the community to share his continual feast.
None of us can escape sorrow in our lives. Just think of the example of Christ. He wept. He knew sorrow and suffering and had his body broken on the cross as one of us for all of us. His pain became our salvation.
No one is immune to sorrow. At 78 years of age, Chuckles has no doubt known sorrow; his spirit has no doubt been broken...repeatedly. But by knowing his God, by trusting Him, by filling himself with that Divine Love, his spirit has also healed repeatedly so he can claim the name Chuckles.
I, too, have known sorrow, stress, anxiety, fear, brokenness. Judging from my massage therapist's comments on the tightness of my shoulder muscles, I am carrying some of those negative things around inside me right now. In the past few days, I've felt lost, confused, and profoundly worried. But despite all that, this morning, I smiled with a glad heart at a stranger in the post office, and God, through another glad heart, gave me candy.
It's not often God smacks us in the heart so obviously, bluntly, unsubtly. When He does, we had best pay attention and be deeply grateful for the gift, the reminder, the blessing. How can we not be glad of heart when we know, especially in the midst of our earthly sorrow or stress or worry, that He loves us, will always love us, will feed us a continual feast?
Rejoice in the Lord always!
Has God ever smacked you in the heart with a blessing? Have you ever felt that gladness of heart at times of suffering, sorrow, or worry? What can you do to be that blessing of a cheerful countenance to others?