When God Smiles: Joy in the Face of Trials

This past weekend, I saw Nichole Nordeman perform at a thanksgiving concert here in southern California; one thing she said struck me — we need to be still and take in God. On a sadder note, one of the singers who was scheduled to perform that night, had just lost his wife in childbirth and their newborn son. She was 30 years old.

Stories likes these, of course, one can only empathize with and pray for those who are suffering; but they strike you and make you question life. If I only had seven years left to live, what would I be doing?

Would I work harder? Would I fight less? Would I smile more?

Would I appreciate being loved more? One moment, we are experiencing a euphoria of joy, anticipating the birth of newness in our lives, and in the split of a second, we can experience such sorrow and loss.

Nordeman mentioned how we can all have those, “Where are you God?” moments in life. Instances like these, make you realize how much you need God. Without Him during these hardships, perhaps even breathing would be difficult, let alone, getting through another day.

So, for a while now, I’ve been feeling the peace of seeing life the way Christ would like me to. Smile often, my daughter. Love like it’s your last, beloved. Give of yourself, my child. It’s making the most of every opportunity.

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” —Colossians 4:5

I think the newness of grace also adds into the aspect of seeing life through a gracious lens. I wasn’t guaranteed today — but I have it. God actually gifted me with a new day — to rejoice and be glad. Of course harsh and often terrifying moments will come, but it’s not necessarily what I do in those moments — but actually, who I become because of them.

So, I ask myself again in seeing life graciously, would I love more? Would I laugh more? I think I would.

Sometimes, we can forget the fact that God is joy.

We can forget that God laughs and smiles and even jokes with us. More than anything, I believe God loves the moments when we remain still and just look to Him — it may look silly craning our necks to a blue sky, but it’s just an act of surrender.

God wants us to see His smile and feel the strength in His joy [Neh. 8:10]. He desires for us to be still and know that He is God. Even if it’s just to see Him smile; perhaps that’s all we need to get through another day of grace. As women who belong to our King and who are betrothed to the joy, grace and strength of our God, it’s only a matter of time until He says, “Daughter, it’s time.”

“May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.” —Numbers 6:25

Whatever that “time” may be, He will always be with you. Whether it’s time to rejoice, whether it’s time to battle, whether it’s time to fly across the country, or even, whether it’s time to go home to Jesus.


About Samantha Hardcastle

Samantha desires for those who think they’re too unworthy to realize that God has a life — personally and lovingly — ordained for them. She paints by dawn and writes by dusk; her work has been published in The Good Women Project and literary art […]

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  1. Valori Stoican says:

    Praying for Nichole's band member who lost his family. Such an overwhelming loss.

  2. How wonderful, to be loved unconditionally by Almighty God. I am loved.

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