Looking for Reasons to Laugh

By Dr. Rubel Shelly

Some days it's hard to get out of bed -- much less laugh. But haven't you noticed how much better a day goes when laughter is scattered through it? You know it's going to be a bad day when...

   • Your knees buckle but your belt won't
   • You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay here
   • You sit down in a rocking chair and can't make it go
   • You dim the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons

Does your image of a holy person include a smiling face? Giggling? Belly laughter? Or is a saint someone with a stern face? Did you ever notice how many times the Psalms exhort God's people to "rejoice in the Lord"? The Bible even says: "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Prov. 17:22).

God must have a sense of humor. Did you ever look closely at a giraffe, anteater, or duck-billed platypus? And what about a zebra? Now there's a good case of God's ability to do something just for the sheer fun of it.

One of the most refreshing things in human experience is a deep belly laugh. Nothing relieves stress so quickly and completely. If you have children or grandchildren, I guarantee that fifteen minutes in the floor with one of them tonight will do more to invigorate you from the day's tensions than whining or having a stiff drink. If you don't have children, just act silly with someone you care about for a quarter hour. It'll do you so much good that you'll want to make it a habit. I once heard a fellow lament that most of the Christians he knew had faces as long as mules' faces and looked like they had just bitten into green persimmons. What a poor recommendation of faith to unbelievers! What a miserable misrepresentation of the God who, we say, gives meaning to our lives. Without joy, what's the meaning?
There's a serious side to humor, all right. What you laugh at tells a lot about your character and self-image. But laughter itself shouldn't be suspect as a waste or distraction. God shines through when people laugh.

So let's try to lighten up a bit. Devote some energy to learning to see your life's comedic twists and turns -- even on the rottenest of days. Not one of us is going to get out of it alive anyway.

By Dr. Rubel Shelly
This copyrighted article was originally published in Grace-Centered Magazine (www.gracecentered.com) a daily, online publication, dedicated to stimulating personal and public thought, prayer, and discussion about living the Christian life."


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