Proverbs 15

Are you familiar with someone who rarely smiles? They find life too difficult while dragging themselves from one task to the next without any regard for how it may be affecting their spouse or children! Their words usually uncover the self-inflicted, self-absorption of their existence.

“A broken heart crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:13b, NLT).

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble;” (15:15a).

“What a person is inwardly has more lasting impact on his emotional state than do his circumstances.[1]

“A glad heart makes a happy face” (15:13a).

“For the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15b)

But the miserable and afflicted (15:15), “are those who are cheerful and as a result have a continual feast; they enjoy life in spite of adverse circumstances.”[2]  The reason why they can be cheerful and enjoyable though miserable and afflicted, is because they are humble and discerning (15:14a). 

There are two of the best examples I know who always a song on their lips have, a glad heart and happy face, while enjoying a continual feast. One was Elisabeth Elliot and the other is still going strong, Joni Eareckson Tada.

Joni wrote an article on her Joni and Friends website titled “No Stranger to Suffering.” She explains, “When I met Elisabeth nearly a decade into my quadriplegia, I could hardly believe I was sharing the same space with this saint I so dearly looked up to! We opened our hearts to one another, sharing how God remained faithful through so much suffering and agreeing that no one participates in God’s joy without first tasting the afflictions of His Son. But one statement from Elisabeth has stayed in my heart for all these many years… she departed our meeting saying, ‘Suffering is not for nothing, Joni.’ In that moment, I was sure I knew what she meant… After all, nine years of quadriplegia had refined my faith and made me take seriously the lordship of Christ in my life.”

Hard times come for all in life, with no real explanation. When we walk through suffering, it has the potential to devastate and destroy, or to be the gateway to gratitude and joy. Elisabeth Elliot was no stranger to suffering. It was in her deepest suffering that she learned the deepest lessons about God.

Joni says: “This truth has guided me through [over] fifty years of paralysis, chronic pain, and two bouts with cancer: The Bible’s answers are never to be separated from the God of the Bible.  [Elisabeth will] help you see that we are on a fierce battlefield. And although she is now in heaven, her writing can spur you on in battle and show how your suffering is never for nothing. Today, be encouraged to press in and embrace the Lord … in the midst of your pain, affliction, and disappointment.”

That can sure bring a smile to one’s heart and face!

Taken from Joni’s Facebook page

               [1] Sid S. Buzzell, “Proverbs,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 938.

               [2] Buzzell.

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