Animals experience pain and grief, and we know they also show their joy. Watching puppies play with toys, each other or their owners brings a smile to our lips. Joy is contagious. We can’t help smiling or laughing over someone else’s happiness.
Because we’re made in God’s image, according to Genesis 1:26, we know that God also feels emotions. The Bible is filled with references to God’s grief, dismay and anger. It also contains stories of his joy. For instance, Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst, the mighty one, will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Imagine God smiling over us! Not only is he pleased, but joyful, because of his great love for us. Our goal should be to cause him to smile because of our love-filled thoughts, words and actions. Of course, we can’t accomplish such a goal unless we have a deep, personal relationship with him, sort of like children have with their parents. The more we want to please our heavenly Father, the more he will smile on us.
Our relationship, therefore, requires a few basic, biblical truths. Through prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit and our willingness, we must become obedient to God’s Word no matter the circumstances around us. Think about Noah when he built the ark. Though he was the only righteous, God-loving and God-fearing person on earth, surrounded by ever-increasing evil, he remained obedient to God’s command to build it.
While Noah built the ark, he also preached God’s love and salvation. If anyone finds it hard to believe that such a loving God would destroy the whole earth, remember that God waited more than 100 years for people to repent, as Noah hammered away at their hearts.
God smiled on Noah because of his obedience and trust during a stressful, and perhaps, dangerous time. Noah used his God-given abilities for the purpose of pleasing him. Because of his closeness to God, no doubt Noah enjoyed preaching, building and even thanking him for the opportunity. Because of his closeness to God, Noah kept a positive outlook, knowing that if his emotions turned sour over the futility of his job, God would keep filling him with joy. Pleasing God must have made Noah smile.
Lord, give us the heart attitude of Noah. We want to please you, to cause you to smile, because of our obedience and trust, our thankfulness and our desire to use the abilities you’ve lovingly given us. In Jesus’ name, amen.