Laughter comes so naturally to us that we never have to learn to do it.
Tiny babies will giggle, and chuckle, and even guffaw without ever being taught how. We laugh with them, not because we see the infantile humor they see—that always seems to mystify adults—but we laugh because laughter is contagious.
Everybody loves to laugh. It releases tension built up inside of us and it relieves fears and worries. We need to laugh some every day if we are to be healthy, whole human beings. We even justify unusual behavior by saying we are just “doing it for laughs.” Surely God smiles when we have a good laugh.
What is laughter? It is part of a human phenomenon called primal speech—sounds that express our feelings but not in words. Primal speech includes: wailing, sighing, groaning, and expressions of amazement like, “Oh!” or realization like, “Ah!” or a pleasant taste like, “Ummm!” One reason why music is so important to people is that musical sound operates in the soul like non-verbal speech saying things we feel deeply but things for which we have no words.
The Best Medicine
Laughter is perhaps the greatest form of primal speech ranging an internal laugh signified only by a smile, to a chuckle deep in our chests, to a chortle in our throat, to a loud, continuous howl.
According to the scripture, laughter is one of the best medicines God has given us. Not only is it healthy, laughing is fun! The relaxation that results from a good laugh is part of the Sabbath rest the Lord has given to us. Responding to something funny is refreshing. Even in times of great stress, the sense of humor of those who bear the burden with us serves to relieve the tension.
It is impossible for us to follow the command of the Lord to rest without engaging in pleasantries, laughter chief among them. The Bible has much to say about laughter and joy.
- Remember Sarah’s incredulous laughter at the prospect of having a child and her astonished laughter when Abraham’s son came along? It was so important, she named the boy, Isaac, which means, ”laughter.”
- In the Book of Psalms commands to be joyful abound.
- Solomon’s writings declare there is a time to laugh and that cheerfulness is like a feast.
- Jesus Himself said that those who mourn will soon be laughing. Surely He also laughed as children played at His feet and in His lap.
Good humor is more than an ice cream company—it is a requirement if we are to ride out the unsettling waves of life as time rolls them in.
Find something to do today that will bring joy to your heart, put a smile to your face, and coax a chuckle, chortle, giggle or guffaw out of you. As laughter escapes your soul, peace will come in to occupy the space where once was fear, or, sadness, or grief. This is the medicine each of us needs today.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Lord Jesus, when man was crafted by the Creator out of clay of Eden, one of the gifts You gave us is the gift of laughter. It is fun but it is not frivolous. A good laugh is like a good medicine, lightening a heavy moment, brightening a dark day, and soothing a withering soul. Part of this gift is the ability to see what is funny so we can laugh about it. From the absurd to the ironic to the silly, funny happens. Thank You, Lord! Help me take several doses of this medicine today! Amen!
Words and Music: Barney E. Warren
1 I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.
2 I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.
3 I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face. [
4 I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved