The Transformative Power of a Smile

I arrived at the hospital later than I had planned. His surgery was scheduled for 10:00 am. I had planned to arrive in time to pray with him before his procedure but my flight had been delayed and as a result, I missed the opportunity. I was pretty irritated by the time I arrived. I tend to get that way – irritated- when things don’t go as I have planned. And things had not gone as I had planned. You can understand my frustration, can’t you? I mean, I had traveled a long way in order to pray with “John” and because of the stupid airline and their inability to maintain a schedule I didn’t accomplish what I had planned.

I know, I have used I a lot in telling this story – maybe that’s the real issue with my being easily frustrated … Well, back to the story. She was sitting alone in the general surgery waiting room. She was surprised to see me; I had not told them I was coming and they certainly weren’t expecting me to travel from Albany, Georgia to Baltimore, Maryland. As we sat together, waiting, there were extended moments of silence between us. Her mind and heart focused on the man she loved, and my mind still fixed on having been late. It had been several hours. With each passing moment she grew more concerned. The surgery was taking a long time. “Pastor Sam,” she asked, “Why is it taking so long?” I hate to admit it but I was still frustrated that I had not gotten there in time to pray with “John.”

That’s when it happened, the life “transforming smile.” Across the hall from the waiting area was a door that leads to pediatrics. The door was decoratively painted with sunflowers, and in the center of one of the flowers was a glass window. As we both stared at the door, we saw it … the smile. It wasn’t just any smile; it was at first glance the ugliest smile we had ever seen. Looking through the window in the center of the flower was a little boy with a severe cleft palate. The position of the window made it appear as though his face was the center of the flower. At that very moment, God impressed upon my spirit the beauty of his smile. My heart melted, and my frustration faded as he looked at me and waved. I had traveled over 800 miles to pray with “John,” but God had brought me to experience the transforming power of a young child’s unique smile!

I would for weeks reflect on that encounter and as I did, I came to understand three truths concerning the power of smiling. Here they are:

  • The transforming power of the smile is experienced not only by the recipient of the smile but the giver as well.
  • The smile has power because it penetrates barriers and transcends all obstacles.
  • The smile is a powerful thing because it signals a new beginning.

It would be another three hours before “John” was out of surgery but for us it seemed only minutes as we marveled over the uniquely beautiful smile of a little boy who was for us that day God’s bouquet of grace!

Today you might be irritated, frustrated, or disappointed, but I want to encourage you to experience the transformative power of a smile. Just smile and watch what God will do through you as well as in you! You might just be God’s bouquet of grace for someone else today!

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