My cell phone has a variety of happy faces. Some smile. Some wink. Some appear to be laughing uncontrollably.
Through the years, the people I’ve met have had a number of smiling faces, too. Many of their smiles have expressed real feelings of happiness. But a smile can also be a mask, covering deep feelings of sadness and pain. In our culture, people often feel like they need to pretend everything is great even when really it isn’t; or, as they say, to “put on a happy face”. This can be especially true in church, because people feel like they are being unfaithful if they admit to being sad or hurt.
The longer I am a pastor, the more I believe faith is not about putting on a happy face when things go wrong. To the contrary, faith can help us express our true feelings, no matter how painful they may be, while trusting God will not abandon us just because we are upset. This April, we are going to praise God while we learn about a man named Job, who lost everything he had… but had enough faith NOT to put on a Happy Face.