A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 ESV
As I enter another week of self isolation, it seems completely surreal this new world we are living in. As if we have just stepped into a movie script, a crazy movie script which has struck fear into millions of hearts.
Did you know that fear impacts how our bodies function? That it weakens our immune system, can interrupt normal brain processes and causes fatigue.
With these consequences it is no wonder that the Bible time and time again tells us not to fear (Deuteronomy 31:8; Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 43:1; John 14:27). In fact we are told to not fear 365 times. God knows us and saw the need to tell us to not fear on a daily basis! But we are not just told not to fear, Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “a joyful heart is good medicine”, it lifts our spirits and causes our hearts to soar, “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV
This draws my mind to the Italian proverb:
Count your night by stars, not shadows,
Count your life with smiles, not tears.
How easy it is for us to get weighed down with sorrow, to count the tears and to become overwhelmed with the darkness and grief that fills this world. We have not been promised a comfortable, pain free life but what we have been promised is Christ, who will carry our burdens for us (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:6-7).
In the words of Corrie Ten Boom “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”. These days thinking about what the future might hold can be a scary thing but take comfort and rest in the fact that God holds the future in the palm of His hand. He is in control (Luke 12:22-26; Revelation 1:17). There will be times of pain and tears but in the midst of the suffering He is there and we need to fall into the arms of our Lord and Savior. “As for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 ESV
So instead of focusing on the shadows and the tears, count the stars, count the smiles. It will renew your spirit and soul.
As you look out at the night’s sky tonight, count the stars. It is a conscious choice to lift your eyes to heaven rather than focusing on the shadows and the grief in our world today. Count your blessings; they are more numerous than the stars in heaven. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV
Lord, we come to You with our hearts heavy and our minds full, we can so easily forget that You are in control. I thank You that despite our forgetfulness You provide us with outrageous grace. You have said in Your Word that You will rejoice over us with gladness, You will quiet and calm us with Your love and exult over us with loud singing. Lord that we would count the stars and the smiles; that our spirits would be lifted and our souls would be renewed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.