Monday, August 31, 2015

Power of a Smile

“May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.” Numbers 6: 25.

When we were in Pakistan a photographer was sent to video the hospital work going on. All I can remember was his remark that “no one was smiling”. Well, a hospital serving the poor probably isn’t the ideal place to capture smiling faces. If you are around suffering people you don’t feel like smiling. There is a time to smile and a time to refrain from smiling. In some countries a bride might not smile because she is leaving her family. She has mixed emotions. Maybe even fear or dread. It would seem strange if a bride would not be smiling and glowing in our culture.

As a family we made a trip to the Pakistan/China border. A jeep full of Chinese tourists jumped out, including a young boy. Our four year old son and that Chinese boy ran to each other. They soon realized they couldn’t communicate but they broke out in smiles. It was beautiful to see. A smile is an universal language which all can understand.

Doris and I were eating lunch with a conservative Muslim lady. Before leaving she wanted a picture taken. She donned her face veil and stood between us. How sad that her smile was hidden behind her veil. Glory was lost. Imagine if we could see no smiles. Our world would be bleak. Such a small thing but very powerful.

We wait anxiously to see our baby make his very first smile. We’re just positive he did it in his first week. It flickered for a second across his beautiful face and we announced it to the whole world. Everything stops when our baby smiles. Is there power in a smile? You bet!

I don’t like fake smiles. You can usually tell when it’s a plastic smile. But when someone comes up to me with a genuine smile it has a way of making me feel welcomed and affirmed. One of the most powerful things we can do with our Muslim friends is to smile. It communicates, “Welcome. I like you. Please come near.” It’s part of incarnational evangelism. Numbers 6:25 must sound very strange to a Muslim. I can’t imagine trying to be an evangelist who would refrain from smiling. Imagine if your pastor didn’t smile. You probably would look for another church. I think it’s phenomenal that God smiles upon us. I’d be scared of Him if He didn’t smile at me. I feel welcomed and safe with His smile. I can’t see it but I can feel it. So….if you don’t know where to begin with a Muslim contact, you can always start with a smile. It will communicate more than you think. A lot more than suspicion, that’s for sure!

Dear heavenly Father, I am moved beyond words that You smile upon me. I need that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.