A Cheerful Heart - Encouragement Café - March 8

A Cheerful Heart
 By Samantha Jackel

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. Proverbs 15:30 NLT

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of our church youth camps.  For me it was a time to get away from the abuse at home, to relax, be a kid and enjoy my friends.  But one of those youth camps impacted my life in an unexpected way.

It was 1984 and our first day at camp.  It was a sunny summer’s day and all of the youth had gathered in the chapel for a time of praise and worship.  God was good and the excitement was building within all of us, wondering what God would do over the weekend.

I can remember coming out of the chapel from the morning of praise and worship and walking across the grassed area with my friend.  Walking towards us was a lanky woman who just happened to be walking with a friend of ours.  I can remember looking at the stranger and giving her an enormous smile.  I can remember her shyly smiling back at me!  I ran off with my friend without it giving it any further thought.

A few years later, I had the pleasure of meeting up with that same woman I had seen years earlier at the youth camp.  I could tell by her eyes that she had lived a hard life. We sat chatting about that camp experience. 

She explained to me that the night before she visited the campsite, she had lost all hope in her life and tried to end it!  The mutual friend that I saw her with that night had actually rescued her and had brought her along to the camp.

As they walked across the grounds, a young girl (me!) strolled out across her path and beamed a huge smile that had penetrated her heart.  That very smile did a work in her heart and placed a hope in her that she could not explain. 

A few months later she accepted the Lord as Saviour and would often pray that she would meet up with the girl that had the smile!

If we allow the Holy Spirit to move within us, then He can use us in the most incredible ways to touch those around us.  We just have to be obedient, and He will do the rest. 

He can use a smile from a girl that was tormented (me) to bring life and hope to someone else.  You have no idea how many lives and how much fruit you are bearing by allowing him to use you.

Dear Jesus,

It is my prayer that You use us in our every day and that You would even use the simplest things such as smile to bring hope and life into the lives of those around us.  May we remain vulnerable in You, believing that You can use us in any situation to bring glory to Your name.  Amen!

© 2019 by Samantha Jackel.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Friday, 08 March 2024.