A friend shared this on Facebook the other day:
‘A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.’
Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)
This Scripture affirms that if we allow our thoughts and emotions to stay negative, or if we allow other people or difficult circumstances to control our happiness, we will feel crushed and broken, which will be reflected in our expression. Yet if we seek joy from Christ in the midst of adversities, we can and will feel true joy, and our faces will reflect that joy.
~Encouragement for Today
This is certainly ONE way to interpret this Scripture.
BUT, there is another, equally valid way to interpret this Scripture as well.
Heartache (which is very real, and often outside our control) crushes a spirit.
That’s a fact, reality, truth, cause and effect.
I understand how those who have not been visited with hard, unchangeable, traumatic life circumstances can be tempted to see only the “choice” side of this verse. But those of us who have had our hearts shattered, our worlds destroyed, our lives ripped asunder know that sometimes there is no choice in heartache.
And we should not be guilted into smiling when our hearts are breaking.
The Bible doesn’t smooth over the rough spots in life. It doesn’t hide the hard places, the deep valleys, the dark pits.
God is honest with us-Jesus Himself said that in this life we would have trouble (John 16:33).
We are not told to be “happy” but are told to “have courage”.
Who needs courage if there’s nothing to fear?
So, yes, make wise choices in feeding your heart-dwell on the Person and promises of our Savior and Shepherd.
But do not let the hap-hap-happy crowd force you to plaster a fake grin across your lips.
Heartache crushes the spirit.
And it’s bound to show up on your face.