• Autumn Stafford

Reason to Smile

Not long ago I was listening to a student share their testimony and I caught myself smiling. They were in the middle of sharing all these terrible things they had gone through and terrible things they had done, and there I was...smiling.

I was embarrassed at first, but as misplaced as it sounds, I realized it was right that I was smiling. I could smile through the awful parts of the story because I knew how it ended.

God does not let anything happen that cannot ultimately be used for good -- for His glory. This has been a helpful reminder to me as I frequently find myself sitting with people who are hurting.

When I sit with a student whose mom is fighting hard against cancer -- I can smile because I know the Lord loves them both more than I ever could and and He is pursuing that mom's heart.

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9, ESV).

When I talk to a lifelong friend whose dad is barely holding onto his life after a tragic accident -- I can smile because I know God was not surprised by it and trust that He is using it in His master plan.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, ESV).

When I witness a friend succumb to the generational cycle of addiction after fighting against it for so long -- I can smile because I know that God has not given up on them even if they have given up on themselves.

"The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent" (Exodus 14:14).

We all know people who are hurting, but if we have surrendered our lives to God, we know the eternal Healer and because of this relationship we have hope to share.

I will end with a new favorite quote of mine I heard in a message recently from one of my favorite speakers, Bryce Stafford (I acknowledge my bias): "We may not always have something to offer, but we always have someone to offer".

Thank You, Jesus, that I always have You to share. I always have hope to share. And because of this, I always have a reason to smile.

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