You will show me the way of life. Being with You is to be full of joy. In Your right hand there is happiness forever. (Psalm 16:11 New Life Version)
One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is one that depicts Him with the children. He’s seated on a large rock, holding several children while the others stand nearby – and He’s smiling at them.
Each Sunday as I was dismissed to go down to my Sunday School class, I passed this life-sized painting in the stairwell. I remember imagining myself on His lap, thinking how safe and comforting it would be to have Him as my friend. Oh, how I wanted to please Him – to see Him smile at me just the way He smiled at those children.
Thank God for a teacher who told me about His love. It was His love and the image of His smiling face that kept me through all the pain of childhood abuse.He opened His arms to me and I ran to Him where I could be safe and loved, in spite of the pain and shame of my life.
As an adult, I began to realize that I had lost sight of His loving smile. I tried to present a strong face to the world - that of a confident and capable woman, writer, pastor's wife and mother among other things. Yet, deep inside I was still a hurting little child, longing for my heavenly Father's smile and approval.
Even now, there are times when the clouds obscure His smile. When I feel alone and depressed, I work at imagining myself clambering onto His lap where I can bury my face in His wool cloak and cry out my hurts. When the tears dry, I can look into His face and see that same tender smile, like the sunshine emerging from the clouds on a rainy day..My heart is once again healed of its hurt and confusion in the light of His love.
Have you ever worshiped in abandon, like a child? Imagine yourself in a field of wild flowers, twirling for joy at being alive and laughing aloud at the wonder of His creation. Picture yourself taking Him by the hand to point out some amazing flower or small butterfly perched on the edge of a leaf. Oh the wonder, the love, the peace and joy of such moments. No wonder He said we need to become as little children.
Father God - Daddy - Help me to always walk with a God who smiles.