An idle glance at the licence plate on the car stopped ahead of me brought an unexpected message and response. The words I saw on the personalized plate: "BE GLAD". We were in traffic waiting to exit a shopping mall one Saturday morning. The message triggered an immediate smile on my face and a lift in my heart.
In that moment, my choice was to be glad. I let myself smile as soon as I read the words. Then, after that, as I sat grinning, I thought of possible negative responses to a "BE GLAD" message. A person could think, "Oh, sure, I'd be glad if I weren't … worrying, or resenting, or hating, or despairing, or hurting, or envying, or criticizing, or wishing I were someplace else, or feeling vexed, irritated, annoyed, or pressured."
The phrase "be glad" is part of this verse in the Psalms:
Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (NIV)
The writer named the source of joy. The Lord made this day. We can rejoice and be glad anywhere and at any time when we remember that we are "heirs together of the grace of life". (1 Peter 3:7b KJV)
I could have refused to let my heart be blithe in the moment I read "BE GLAD". My mother had died unexpectedly three weeks prior. But, fresh in my memory was a message I had seen many times hanging on the wall in the kitchen of her home. A little wooden plaque there proclaims, "Smile, God Loves You". I finally began to apply the message of the plaque when I most felt her absence.
Would you join me in a renewed, greater determination to smile and express a merry, light heart? To remember our Creator with a discipline of joy could well point others in His direction.
Prayer: Father in heaven, we give thanks, beyond our capacity to form words, for the ministry of Christ. We have access to Your throne of grace! Please help us to smile, rejoice, and be glad. We ask in the powerful name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
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