I will… smile

As I recently shared in reflection upon the smile of a dear saint’s service of witness to the resurrection and the life, I was led to search for the word “smile” in various translations of the Holy Scriptures. One collection of three consecutive verses from the Bible caught my eye.

 
 

Job 9:25-27 (NIV1984)

25 “My days are swifter than a runner;

    they fly away without a glimpse of joy.

26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,

    like eagles swooping down on their prey.

27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,

    I will change my expression, and smile,’

 
 

Here, the Old Testament character of Job presents us with one whose relationship with God is replete with conversations which depict the height and depth of human suffering for one whose plight in life is faced with challenges that strain much of his dialogue with the very Lord of the universe.

 
 

As swiftly passing by the days of life may run their course, seemingly flying away without even as much as a glimpse of joy, skimming past like fleeting boats of papyrus as Scripture tells us, not unlike eagles swooping down upon their targeted prey below, we are presented with a choice in the wake of this Advent season of Thanksgiving and Christmas following into the New Year ahead. We are given occasion to choose what kind of attitude we may respond with whatever life may bring our way. Come what may, we can adapt in the midst of our situation(s) by deciding to adopt an attitude of gratitude, or give in to griping, begrudging and complaining.

 
 

Despite the potentially debilitating predicament of Job in the Bible by which he could have easily denounced with deep despair his sordid, sobering situation in utter despondency, he instead gives remarkable consideration to saying, “I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile”! 🙂 While the rest of the passage provides greater context for this statement in which we find Job in further ruminations, lamenting his sorry state of late, the chapter ends with a telling turn of phrase from another translation.

 
 

Job 9:33, 35
(NLT)

33 If only there were a mediator between us,

    someone who could bring us together.

35 Then I could speak to him without fear,

    but I cannot do that in my own strength.

 
 

The Scriptures of the New Testament tell us that we have indeed been given a mediator in Jesus Christ. In the apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy (2:5) we read, “there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. The book of Hebrews (9:15; 12:24) refers to Christ as “the mediator of a new covenant”. Jesus himself embodies the love of God that drives out all fear as expressed so affectionately in the Johannine accounts (John 3:16) and letters (1 John 4:8,18). Because of Jesus the Christ, we can have close conversation with God in prayer without being afraid as we approach the throne of grace. But, as Job points out, we cannot do this in our own strength. Only by grace can we do so. As Paul wrote to the Philippians (4:13 CEV), “Christ gives [us] the strength to face anything.”

 
 

My hope and prayer for you and yours, and for all of us in this New Year in the Lord, is that God would gift us with renewed capacity of strength imbued upon us in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Blessed with certain temerity of resolve and determination toward the better future God has in mind for us, may we forge ahead into the New Year knowing that God is smiling on us with wisdom and favor from on high.

 
 

Numbers 6:24-26

The Message (MSG)

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face

    and make you prosper.

 
 

Pastor Rex

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~ by prayersForMelissa on December 20, 2012.

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