– John Greenleaf Whittier
How can a person who is suffering, experiencing health issues, or going through financial or marital problems still smile? It is because of their God, in whom their victory is certain.
The Joy That’s Set Before Us
The author of Hebrews gives us a great reason to smile through adversity as he admonishes us to “run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Heb. 12:1b) and keep “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Think about our future hope of the heavenly kingdom when we shall all see “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:2-3).
No More Pain, Sorrow, Suffering, or Death
When this great kingdom arrives, it will be the end of our suffering because God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4). When God wipes a tear away, it stays gone forever. This will be the end of death and the end of all the suffering that we all go through in this life, and, hey, part of that joy will surely be meeting some of you, the readers, because I finally get to meet you all in person. Don’t you think that’ll be amazingly awesome!?
Seeing the Finish Line
When you face miles of piles of trial, think of God at the end of that road waiting for you, smiling. We might not think of God smiling, or maybe we believe it’s not reverential, but God is also full of joy, more than we will ever be, and He will surely smile when He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21). Don’t you deeply yearn to hear those words “well done, good and faithful servant?” Don’t you think Jesus will be happy to say that to you and to finally meet you in person? I know I will, and it’ll be off the charts joyful.
Crossing the Finish Line
Paul wrote the very last letter he would ever write on Earth knowing “the time for my departure is near” (2 Tim. 4:6), but Paul could still have joy knowing this. Why? Because he could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Don’t you long for that appearing of Jesus? I certainly do. I believe Jesus does, too, and maybe that makes Him smile.
The smile of God is victory, and there is victory in Jesus, so today think about the joy that is set before you. Think about the end of suffering and death. Think about seeing the finish line coming. Finally, think about entering into the joy of the Lord. We can smile, too, because of the smile of God’s victory in Jesus.