The other day, as I laughed with friends in the chatroom here at CB, these verses came to mind:
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15I have found these verses to be so true this past year.
I go to a breast cancer support group twice a month. While I have now completed treatment, I still attend partly to stay connected with other survivors and partly to help new survivors as they begin their journey. One of the things which really surprises newcomers is the laughter. Although there are also a lot of tears, there is a lot of laughter. We have learned that we must laugh or we can't face the journey very well.
Medical science backs us up in this. When comparing cancer survivors who have a similar diagnosis (stage, size, type, lymph node involvement, etc) and prognosis, those who have a "cheerful countenance" survive longer.
While the scripture admonishes us to be "sober and vigilant" this does not mean we are not to laugh. We must never forget we are Christ-Followers. We must never forget we have a job to do in spreading the Good News. We must never forget there is an enemy who seeks to destroy and devour. However, far too many Christians have interpreted that to mean laughter is bad. No! Laughter (when it springs from a joyful heart) is a gift from God. It is a light which breaks through the darkness; even if it is for a moment. Pain can slip away for a moment. You experience a sense of belonging and your heart is filled with good-will. Hurts and fears are laid aside for the moment. Weapons are laid down as it is hard to be unforgiving toward someone you are laughing with. It creates a bond between people.
God loves laughter and so do I!
May God fill our mouths with laughter which flows from the joy of the LORD!