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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: Life is no laughing matter...or is it?
By Karen Treharne
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Actually, laughter is an awesome thing. We laugh to be entertained, in jest, making sport of, or mockingly. We can be amused, celebrating, joking, making merry, playing, rejoicing, being in derision, or scorning when we laugh. For myself over the years, laughing during stressful times has acted as a release to help reduce the tension. I thank God for that ability, because even though the laughter may only prevail for a short while, it usually lasts long enough for me to refocus my emotions and redirect my eyes to heaven.
The Bible records that God laughs - but it is never in joy, never during worship, never in mirth, and never to be amused - He only laughs in judgment against His enemies. He is not frivolous in his laughter, nor is He out of control. He is sincere. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, we are told that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. Laughter is mentioned among the beatitudes in Luke 6:21 which says, “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh”. This scripture should be a source of comfort to all of us. I know it is to me.
Are you in a time of weeping right now? I have learned that sorrow is a process, a teacher, that helps us out of our valleys to a place where we can laugh. God promises it, and we need to hold on to that promise. Ecclesiastes 7:3 says, “Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be happy.” Nothing, not sorrow, mourning or disaster can remove God’s peace from us. Our outward emotions may change, but our hearts will remain steadfast as long as we are storing the Word of God there and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.
The one thing about laughter, as it is identified in the Bible, is that it is not equated to happiness. And joyfulness is not the same as laughter. Mostly we think of joy as a good feeling, and it is; our elation rises when things go well, and it disappears when things go badly. But Galations 5:22 tells us that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and Acts 13:52 states that the disciples were CONTINUALLY filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. So it is possible to feel delight even in the valleys, because God is the source of all joy. In fact, we should be filled with joy MORE when things go wrong, for that is when we receive God’s special blessings. Look at Paul who was physically exhausted to the point of depression, yet he still experienced pleasure in Christ.
Jesus is the Christian’s reason for a joyful heart. And because of Him, no one can take that away. God gives each of us the gift of laughter and teaches that we are to laugh and weep at appropriate times - and to always put our trust in Him and His Word. Our hearts should be filled with thanks and joyful laughter at this very moment as we contemplate spending eternity with our Lord.