Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. - Psalm 43:5
They say the key to a healthy smile is proper dental habits such as brushing, flossing, regular exams and the like. But according to Psalm 43:5, a healthy smile involves much more than oral care. It requires spirit care.
In Psalm 42 and 43, we find David talking to himself (glad I'm not the only one who does that). He's downcast and upset, frustrated and discouraged. Or, the way I like to put it, he was in a funk. Ever been there? You can't place your finger on the cause of your mood, but whatever reason, you just feel down. You want to cry but don't have the energy. You long to feel better but don't know how. And, if you're like the psalmist and me, you question yourself. "What is wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Why is my soul disquieted? Why don't I feel peace?"
Without an answer to our myriad of questions, we typically end the conversation and go about our mopey way, but David doesn't. He stops the questioning and begins a pep rally. "Don't be sad, soul. Hope in God. Think about all He's done. Remember Who He is. Focus on Him not the problem because, as He has promised, this too will pass, and then I'll be praising Him for bringing the smile back to my face."
The health of our countenance. The reason for our smile. Let's face it, there are many things in life to cause a frown, a tear and even a sob. Sickness, disease, job loss, financial struggles, marriage issues and on and on. But what the psalmist is reminding us is no matter what life throws our way, we always have a reason to smile. We can always hope in God because He has proven Himself worthy time and again. Remember, He isn't affected by our trials like we are. At no point during our predicament does God feel unable, unconfident or lacking. He's God. The Almighty. The Everlasting. The all-powerful One. He's got this, no matter what "this" is. And with our thoughts on Him rather than on our problems, we can smile.
In the Bible, the word "countenance" typically refers to the face, often in connection with the expression on the face. Our countenance says a lot about us. In fact, it says more about us than words do. A troubled expression on the face of a Christian tells others we don't believe what we say we believe. A constant frown indicates mistrust and disbelief in God and His promises. A smile, on the other hand, conveys that, even when circumstances are not ideal, we will hope in God because He can be trusted.
So, you see, a healthy smile doesn't begin with a toothbrush (though I encourage you to use one daily); it starts with the eyes. Where are we looking? Are we focused on the problem or the Problem Solver? One results in a downcast soul and weary heart. The other brings about a smile that reflects the genuine peace within.
The purse I'm currently using has a picture of Eeyore, the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh. In big letters, it reads, "This is my happy face." Of course, being Eeyore, the countenance looks anything but happy, hence the humor of the saying. However, it's not as cute in real life. So, I ask you, are you wearing your happy face, and if so, can others tell it's your happy face?