Abraham Lincoln said, “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die” and Mort Walker said, “Seven days without laughter makes one weak.” According to a family practitioner at New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Marvin E. Herring, said, “The diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs and even the liver are given a massage during a hearty laugh.”
The word “laugh,” in its various forms, is given thirty-eight times in the Bible. Sometimes laughter is right and sometime it’s wrong. Sometimes it is God Himself. The Bible also speaks about the laughter of a fool. “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:6). This verse pictures a pot hanging over a fire, with thorns burning under it, making a crackling noise. The thorns crackle as they burn, then they are consumed, and there is nothing left but cold, grey embers and silence.
The laughter of a fool is like that. He is miserable even while he’s laughing. After his fun and laughter is over, he is empty and dead. But the Bible says, “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth [or joy] is heaviness” (Proverbs 14:13).
The Bible also tells us there is the laughter of unbelief. “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh” (Genesis 18:11,12,15). She did laugh, “within herself” (verse 12), and Sarah must have been more than a little fascinated that the Lord knew it. Just as He knew HER heart, by the way, He also knows yours and mine.
Aren’t you glad that we serve a God who laughs! “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh…” (Psalm 2:4). Our laughing God wants us to have times of laughter. The wisdom of Ecclesiastes observes that there is, “A time to weep and a time to laugh.” (3:4).It’s a shame that so many people totally ignore God’s instructions for a healthier and happier life, and laughter is one of them. Oh, my beloved, if we would only live by the principles as recorded in God’s Eternal Word, we wouldn’t only live healthier and happier lives, but our relationships with one another would improve immensely
My beloved, God gave us the gift of humor and the capacity to laugh. So, when was the last time you had a good hearty laugh and what was the occasion? Maybe you were reading a humorous story from Reader’s Digest, watching a very funny movie or just reading the comics in the local newspaper. God has a wonderful sense of humor and we were created by God to laugh as well as cry. Luke 6:21 says, “God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy.” My, what a great promise from our Creator.
While writing this devotional, my thoughts were of Jesus, and just maybe He had a twinkle in His eye when in Matthew 7:4, “He said that a person should take the plank out of his own eye before trying to remove a speck of sawdust from the eye of someone else.” Can’t you picture His listeners smiling and hearing them laugh softly? However, I’m quite sure they also understood His point, and some may have been convicted about their own judgmental attitude. Proverbs 15:13 tell us that “a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.”
I don’t know what you have learned from God’s precious Word; however, I’ve learned that laughter can calm our fears, restore our hope, ease our pain, strengthen our resolve, and turn our arrogance into humility. I will close with this verse found in Psalms 126:3, “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’”
Give us a sense of humor, Lord,
Give us the grace to laugh and smile;
But check our lips from needless jest
That what we speak may be worthwhile.
What we laugh at reveals our character.