Beneath the Smiles

After many mission trips, I know some of the stories that are in back of the smiling faces. I have learned that unresolved hard things are often beneath their smiles. There are no pictures to show in this little piece. It is better to keep things private.

I love these people God has put in our path. Some are small and young; several are entering their first jobs; a few are seasoned staff. Each one is special to us, but they are more special to God, who loves them and knows each one in a full sense. Occasionally, I get a glimpse of what the Holy Spirit is doing in some of these special ones who have a missing parent or no close relatives. It makes me thankful, because He knows what He is doing and oversees perfectly.

I ask one how she is doing, knowing that the rapid smile and warm greeting are somehow incomplete. She bursts into tears as I gently touch her shoulder.

My wife walks with another and simply asks a small question. This one looks down to hide the tears but declines to say anything. The hurt is present and big enough, so she dares not speak without crying.

Another young one, seemingly all together in a bunch of changing circumstances, including a missing parent, breaks down during a brief conversation. That conversation upsets a sibling, who also has a tough moment talking about it.

Yet another comes, expressing a despair of life, thinking out loud that it might be better to just end it all. It is the matter-of-fact statement that alarms us. We pray.

Every face, as I have said before, has a story. The smiles are genuine, but beneath them are things that only God can heal. Good talk, psychology, citing passages might help a little here and there, but in the end, it takes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to touch the inner part that is not whole. It often takes a walk down that road for a while for things to get right. Sometimes they don’t, because the heart of an injured one does not believe that God truly knows every plight, every abandonment, and every injury that happens in our lives.

But He does. And it is worth reaching out to Him. When we are granted a brief opportunity, which is really all we have, we encourage this one or that one to reach out, to trust Him, and to know Him. How can we be so sure that going to God does any good? Because we know He loves us. Then He turns a little of that around so we can love others. It seems to make a difference, so we continue to entertain every circumstance as an opportunity to speak of Him and to love.

It is worth a change in direction, a repenting, to come to God, that He might heal the brokenhearted.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their]wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power. His understanding is infinite.The Lord lifts up the humble,,,     Psalm 147:3-5a

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