I spoke recently with a friend and asked how the church was doing in the country where they minister. Her eyes lit up and she explained how some had come to faith and had been baptized this summer. Exciting indeed, especially in a country where the cost of following Christ can be huge.
Having visited her about 18 months ago and going to the house church in their city, I remembered a few things about the people who were there. As she related how one of the men was taking such a pastoring role with the people and was so passionate for evangelism, she started to try to explain to me who she meant. It took just a few words for me to figure out who she meant. It was "the man who is always smiling" — I knew right away. When I met this man, though I could not speak his language, you just knew that he had joy in his heart.
Driving home later that night I thought about this man’s smile... and this man’s story. Because of his faith in Christ, his Muslim wife eventually left him and divorced him. He hasn’t been allowed to see his children for years. In short, knowing Christ has meant big costs in this man’s life. But what was it that stuck out to both my friend and I? He had a JOY in his life that shone from his face into his whole life.
What an encouragement to "press on" is the memory of this man's radiant smile!