The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24, NLT
For the third time last night, I woke up with something on my heart and the compelling need to pray about it. As I prayed, I snuggled into the covers and reminded myself that God was near and he was smiling.
My husband and I are in a place of trusting the Lord at a deeper level, and we—individually and together—are discovering that the faith Jesus talked of in his Word is reliable. We’ve been on our knees often, on our faces at times, during the past few years and most acutely in recent months. We have felt the ache of several years of toxic situations, broken promises, friends who abandon, questions about the future, questions about God’s desires for us . . . and surrender to him.
We can see these years as a time of brokenness and training in certain areas, and we are experiencing the closeness with the Lord that is unique to those times. We can cherish them for their blessings even as we hope for the relief of answers. In their own way, these years have been life-changing and precious in their building power, even as we have felt chipped away by them. We are feeling the precious pleasure of God when our human minds instinctively default to wonder if God is holding his hammer over us. We are recognizing the lying patterns of the enemy that tempt us to think we must work harder, do more, prove ourselves. We are thankful for the lessons, but the journey to get to that point has been difficult, and we certainly are still learning. But we are comforted because . . .
God has been with us, and we feel his smile.
Without giving too many details about the situation, we are discovering in the midst of it that the faith Jesus asks of his followers holds a sweetness when we keep our eyes on him and not the problem. Surrender to him, his timing, and his answers brings security because we are freed from the situation being all about us.
When we trust, we are acknowledging that Jesus’ part—by his own commitment—is to care for us (Philippians 4:19). Our part is to surrender and rest in his care. I really think our part is to look for his smile as well.
We may have to release our hold on more areas as he shows them to us. That can cause pain. However, when we look to him, we see again his smile on us.
God’s smile brings warmth and comfort and hope.
Jesus is about newness and healing and strength in weakness and wisdom when ours isn’t enough. He is about his Kingdom and inviting us to align every aspect of our lives with his very good purposes.
We don’t have the answer yet, but we have our God and his delight.
God’s smile offers his presence and pleasure and reaffirms his promises.
When we live as fully his, for his purposes and not for what the world offers, he is pleased and he loves to shine his delight all over us.
May you feel his smile today.
- In what area of your life do you find it difficult to surrender? Finances? Focus? Relationships? Some character trait? Ask God to deal with you in that area, and begin to thank him for the work that will surely bring challenges—as he smiles over you.
- Meditate on these Scriptures, and ask the Lord to help you see his smile. Ask him to show you areas that may be clouding your view of his smile.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe
that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6, ESV
And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone,
for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.
John 8:29, ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17, ESV
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2, NLT