Life is very serious, and so it must be handled with a very serious smile. And it’s best to bring it with you, for quite often circumstances will not provide you with provocation. I am not telling you to “look within.” Sometimes the only smile you can find there is that of a court jester or a cynic. Nor am I suggesting that you somehow transcend reality with some blind spiritual ecstasy. That is an escape reserved for concentration camps and extreme suffering.

The creative mind finds it difficult to smile in the midst of drudgery. The difference between a smile and a gripe is not the circumstance, but the point of view. To the rancher it’s a useless place to raise cattle; to the oil man it’s a treasure trove. To the tired mother, repeating the same chores day after day, struggling to keep peace with the children, aware of her fading youth and her failure to have achieved the self-expression she expected, wishing for romance that died too quickly, today is just another burden to be borne; whereas to the mother with a vision for eternity, today is an opportunity to be God’s nanny, teaching His kids to honor Him. She doesn’t carry the burden of personal ambition.

Borrowed worries can leave us pulling God’s load, probably in a direction He would never take it. My Daddy used to say that he found life difficult until he resigned as chairman of the universe. The common laborer smiles while his boss pulls his hair out. If you’re not running the company, but assuming the responsibility anyway, you may never find rest. The song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” If you look at the quality of your trust, your smile may vanish, but if you look to the success of Him whom you trust, there will always be more than enough motivation to smile.