23 May 2021

Pandemic Panacea

During this pandemic, I've learned a new skill.

No, it's not becoming an expert at facilitating Zoom meetings - even though I've done my fair share!  It's not scoring the best deal on hard-to-find hygiene products - even though our store shelves are stocked full of TP again!  It's not even the creativity needed to balance a host of opinions about how to "do" church.

I've become adept at recognizing people from just half or a third of their face exposed!  Have you, like me, noticed your ability to identify your friends even though this vital part of their personality is hidden? 

The first place I generally look at someone is smack-dab in the eye, which according to most social experts is the place you want to make contact first.  However, my gaze goes to their face in general.

You can tell a lot about a person by what their face says.  Happy, sad, or mad, irritable or indifferent - facial expressions and cues are a window to the soul.  For me, it's the smile underneath the mask that I love "seeing" - and it's only through their eyes!  

I never realized how much my eyes reveal my smile!  And I love to experience this gift from someone, even though it's not visibly apparent.  We didn't ask for them to be masked, but we've voluntarily covered them in order to protect others either from disease or from fear.  And it has been a wonderful gift - to smile through the barrier.  This has been my pandemic panacea - to "see" these smiles.   

But even more has been the smile bestowed on me by the Lord!  We often don't think of God smiling since He is Spirit.  The Bible has a unique way of expressing it, though - as "making His face shine upon us."

Most notably, these words are found in the words God gave to Moses and Aaron to bless the people of Israel... Numbers 6:24–26 (NIV84) - "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

Rick Warren, in his popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, mentions this and the five ways we can make Him smile:

∙ God smiles when I love Him supremely.
∙ God smiles when I trust Him completely.
∙ God smiles when I obey Him wholeheartedly.
∙ God smiles when I praise and thank Him continually.
∙ God smiles when I use my abilities.

He used a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Chariots of Fire.  Runner and missionary, Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”  Everything we do can solicit the "smile" of God if we commit everything we are and do to His glory.  

And for me, that has been the cure for my pandemic blues!  How about for you?

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