You Can Smile Again
by Damainion Ewell
There is one uniquely profound question that should be asked in the Body of Christ. That question is simply this: do you smile more than you ask “why?” For all of the people who have had to overcome monstrous atrocities in their lives, you know exactly where this is going. To those who have had the fortune of going through life without many hurdles, allow me to explain what I mean.
In the midst of every testimony is a story of survival and endurance through the vicissitudes of life. Oftentimes, I listen to the testimonies of people who have had to walk through literal fire just to obtain a small ray of sunshine on their face. It is the overcoming of every peak and valley that validates our walk with the LORD. Conquering those trials also brings forth the triumphant smile that signifies that God’s promise of victory has already been wrought.
Allow me to embellish the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three Jewish men lived under the rule of king Nebuchadnezzar, who by all accounts was a cruel and evil dictator. In Daniel 3:5-6 (KJV), Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to the people was to bow before a golden image, stating “that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” This kind of authoritarian rule forced the people to bow and not think twice about it. In an unprecedented repudiation of Nebuchadnezzar’s command, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow.
With the smile of the LORD upon their faces, the men proudly proclaimed, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:16-18, KJV). What kind of reprisal would this bring? Nebuchadnezzar, being full of fury and anger, “commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated” (Daniel 3:19, KJV). Nebuchadnezzar’s henchmen elevated the temperature of the furnace so hot that they died while tossing the three men inside.
Would you blame these men for asking “why?” Why had the LORD forsaken them and allowed an evil tyrant to throw them in a fiery grave? Why had the LORD allowed a man to exalt himself and make His people bow before a false idol? But as you read previously, they were steadfast in their stance to glorify the name of the LORD, and consequently, they had the sagacity and the unmitigated gall to smile. In their uncompromising posture, the LORD saved them, not allowing their flesh to be burned or their clothes to smell like smoke (see Daniel 3:20-27). Nebuchadnezzar’s shock was so thorough that he made an all-new pronouncement: “therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Daniel 3:29, KJV).
I want to reach that person who has lost a loved one and has continually asked the LORD “why?” As a personal testimony of mine, I met my father one time in my life. He was lying in his casket, dead and unable to share with me the experiences of his life. To this very day, I know nothing of the man that is responsible for bringing me into this earth. I have never touched him, hugged him, and I have never smelled the scent of the cologne that he wore. He never spanked me, chastised me, or gave me a high-five for maintaining good grades. I never knew him, but I survived. I survived because I know Him, the God of glory and the rock of my salvation. When I had no father or no mother, Jesus Christ stood in the gap and was my bridge over every ounce of water that was troubled. As the seasons changed and the winds blew, God was my consistency and my last hope. If you lost someone you loved or someone you hope loved you, please understand that God makes no mistakes. The pain may run deep and cut you in places that no one understands are there, but God is a healer. Hold your head up high and allow the healing power of God to occupy your soul.
The ultimate survival is to smile in the middle of anguish and not ask the LORD why. To that family whose house burned to the ground, let me reach out to you. This is a tragic situation and every earthly possession of yours may be blistered and charred. You may be homeless, but God is a refuge. In Psalms 61:3 (KJV), David proclaimed God to be “a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” God has the power to return unto you everything that you lost, and He can piece together every broken memory. I liken the LORD to be the ultimate puzzle-solver, taking billions of broken souls and reshaping them into the beautiful landscape that He intended all of us to be.
I would encourage every person who feels that their smile is gone to “lift up your eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh your help” (Psalms 121:1, KJV). Lift up your eyes in the midst of your broken marriage. Lift up your eyes in the midst of your bankruptcy. Lift up your eyes in the midst of you getting fired from the job or losing fair-weather friends. It is God’s greatest desire that you smile throughout the trial, because His mighty hand will see you through to the end. I know it has not been easy, and I know that you have wanted to quit many times. But, God is alive and well, and you will survive. Live…and in all of your smiling, tell someone that they, too, can smile again.