But every other day, he'd gone about his duties with a cheerful attitude. He'd waited on the royal family with the wine pitcher in hand and a pleasant expression on his face. His smile had not been a lip-curving snarl of bitterness over his circumstances, nor had it been a frail lift of one corner of the mouth that begged "feel sorry for poor me." His smile had been genuine, heartfelt, kind...and selfless. Though Nehemiah's own heart had been heavy plenty of times, he'd seen to the needs of others, the very ones he could have felt anger toward. And it was THAT attitude that captured the king's attention. Though scriptures document the moment the king noticed Nehemiah's solemnity, it's the unrecorded moments of cheer that stand out to me. Those smiling-through-his-tears moments weren't penned in the Holy Writ, but they were the ones that made the difference. Without them, the frown would have never been noticed, and Nehemiah would not have been given the opportunity to be part of the healing of a nation. It’s amazing the difference a smile can make.
Tip/Tidbit: We, too, have heavy hearts. We long for Heaven. We grieve as we watch sin ravish those we love. We repent for ourselves and cry out for mercy for our nation. We experience the burden of trouble. We weep in private. But sorrow doesn't cast a permanent pall over our lives. We have the joy of the Lord, which gives us strength, strength for those very battle moments that bring us to tears. In spite of all that presses in or weighs on our hearts, we have a reason to hope. And because of Him, we have a genuine, heart-felt, honest-to-goodness facial expression of joy. We have a smile.
Do you have an unselfish, I-care-about-you smile, or is your face so drawn up in selfish contemplation that no one notices when your heart is heavy about the things of God? Let's remind ourselves to cast our cares on God and delight ourselves in Him. Then, we can serve others with an unselfish attitude.