While recently contemplating the weight of life, the seriousness of our broken condition, and the many possibilities of things to do, a still small voice reminded me that “A merry heart does good like a medicine. Prov. 17:22.” I think that means that it is a good thing to laugh. The real kind of laughter. If wisdom is the better part of valor, and in order to get wisdom we need to ask God with a single-minded purpose, I submit that in our asking for wisdom we need to be ready to smile at the world that God has dropped us into. Trust me, crass “comedy” shows or vulgar bathroom jokes are not what I’m suggesting as incentives to drum up a little laughter in your life. Just try this. Consider how seriously you take your life and how seriously you take others, and ask God to show you how to live a life wherein the “joy of the Lord” is your strength. Probably closely linked to a healthy sense of humor and a tendency towards spontaneous laughter is that all-important attitude of thankfulness God calls us to embrace.
I remember as a teenager noting with interest how the mouth of an older man I knew seemed fixed into a perpetual frown. I would wonder to myself what was up with that. Didn’t he know that it actually takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? Déjà vu hit rather hard the other day when I considered my grim visage in the mirror and noted that I wasn’t necessarily “Mr. Smiley” myself. So here’s to laughter and a merry heart—pray that we could take that good medicine and have the joy of the Lord in our hearts and minds spill out of our speech and be observed in our countenance. May God be praised!
One caution. It is said that “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” Proverbs 14:13. Some of us face systemic areas of pain and heartache. Why is that a person may make a grand effort to be a smiley, laughing individual around others, determined not to let others get a glimpse into the raw hurts and desperate chaos in his life? Is it that we want to fool others (and ourselves) into thinking that if we act like there is no problem, then the problem will go away? May we live honest lives of joyful thanksgiving!