Smile and sin no more

by Maggie Chandler

It had been an especially hard day, and it was only half over!

“Oh, no, things must be pretty bad,” someone said. “Even Maggie’s lost her smile.”  

When I got home for lunch, I plopped down on the sofa, engulfed with frustration, and hugged my Bible to my heart.

“Lord, if I ever needed a word from You, I need it now.”

Now, I have lived my entire life conversing with God, though it has only been in these later years that I’ve shared much of it. Now and then, I wonder if He’s not just messing with me a little. You know, the way He used to do when one of His children got particularly bent out of shape (such as Elijah and Jonah).

It was while I was in this sorry emotional state that I opened my Bible to Job 2:9, where Job’s wife practically spit out these words to him, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  Curse God, and die.”

My first thought was, I confess, not a good one. 

Yes! Finally, somebody understands me and what I’m going through. That’s exactly what I feel like doing right this minute. 

It sounded to me like I’d just been given the go-ahead to give up and throw up my hands in defeat.

But it seems that God wasn’t quite through with me.  

“Oh, Maggie,” He whispered.

“Yes, Lord?”

“Is there a reason why you stopped right there?”

“I should read further, Lord?”

“By all means,” He said. “Read further.” (When I’m in trouble, God’s voice always seems to have a bit of a British accent.)

So I read Job 2:10, where Job responded to his wife, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

“What are you trying to tell me, Lord?”

“Maggie, your lips have the power to bring a curse, as Job’s wife recommended, or a blessing,” He said. “Fact is it’s up to you which it will be. But remember this. If you choose to curse instead of bless, then unlike Job, you will have sinned with your lips.”

Knowing I was definitely not in the habit of cursing, I was bold enough to ask, “Lord, when have I ever sinned with my lips?”

“When you lost your smile today,” He said. “You smile with your lips. That smile has always been a testimony of the goodness of God, and you have withheld it from the world today.”

Sheepishly I looked up. “Thank you, Lord,” I managed. “You never fail to teach me new lessons when I come to You.”  

I looked at my watch. My lunch hour was almost over. “I’ve got to run, Lord. Is there anything else?”

“Only this, my child,” He said. “When it comes to your smile, don’t ever leave home without it. Things won’t always go the way you’d like, but in the midst of all his problems, Job never sinned with his lips, and your problems are nothing compared with his.”

I got the point. I figured I’d better post this little God thing on the fridge before I left the house. My family is probably still puzzling over the simple message jotted on a note: SMILE – AND SIN NO MORE!