July 27 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 43–45; Acts 27:27–44
A cheerful heart is good medicine.
READ Proverbs 15:13–15, 30
When Marcia’s out in public, she always tries to smile at others. It’s her way of reaching out to people who might need to see a friendly face. Most of the time, she gets a genuine smile in return. But during a time when Marcia was mandated to wear a facemask, she realized that people could no longer see her mouth, thus no one could see her smile. It’s sad, she thought, but I’m not going to stop. Maybe they’ll see in my eyes that I’m smiling.
There’s actually a bit of science behind that idea. The muscles for the corners of the mouth and the ones that make the eyes crinkle can work in tandem. It’s called a Duchenne smile, and it has been described as “smiling with the eyes.”
Proverbs reminds us that “a cheerful look brings joy to the heart” and “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (15:30 nlt; 17:22). Quite often, the smiles of God’s children stem from the supernatural joy we possess. It’s a gift from God that regularly spills out into our lives, as we encourage people who are carrying heavy burdens or share with those who are looking for answers to life’s questions. Even when we experience suffering, our joy can still shine through.
When life seems dark, choose joy. Let your smile be a window of hope reflecting God’s love and the light of His presence in your life.
By Cindy Hess Kasper
REFLECT & PRAY
What else does the Bible teach us about the joy found in God? How does inner joy contribute to a healthy mind, body, and spirit?
The joy You provide is my strength, dear God. Help me to be a messenger of Your love to others.
Scholars believe the man who compiled most of the proverbs, Solomon, is the same man who wrote the next book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes. Yet the two books seem to contain contradictory messages. Proverbs says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful” (15:13). Ecclesiastes says, “Laughter . . . is madness” (2:2), and “Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart” (7:3). Which is correct?
Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of living for this life only; therefore, it has dark undertones. But Proverbs doesn’t ignore life’s complexities, for it also says, “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief” (14:13). There is balance in both books. The proverbs contain sound counsel for living and help us choose the life-affirming path of wisdom. And Ecclesiastes concludes, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (12:13).