Jill Jarrell Newsome
Lord, Thank You For Laughter
Last week Mom and I went to visit my uncle in an assisted living facility out of town. When we got there he was down and asking the same ole questions about when he was leaving. I asked him if he was ready to take a ride to get some lunch. He mentioned needing a hair cut so said we would ask the restaurant where to go. During the blessing I asked God to get us to the perfect barber.
"Mr. Arnold" had been gone for a week so he was backed up and so was the second call. The final call was answered by a jolly man who said he was waiting for us - hurry up and come on. He gave me the "over the train track...." directions. When we walked in there were three men just hanging around. I asked if this was the men's version of a hen party. While the cut and shave went on we were all entertained. "Clarence", 80ish, had just finished his shave and found a drop of blood so he was giving the barber a hard time - all in fun. They told story after story and kept us in stitches. Clarence was talking to Mom the whole time about how he was healed of polio as a child. Jack was supposed to be in the chair but he let my uncle to in front of him. These men were in no hurry - I think they stay all day!
Within 30 minutes it was time to tell our new friends bye and as I turned around Clarence wanted to show Mom what he could do. He grabbed Mom and was dancing and twirling her around! We were all bent over laughing. We told them we would see them again - we had a blast and I had not seen laughter like that in a while! We laughed all the way back to the facility and Mom and I decided we'll take him there to get all of his haircuts and shaves. Our heavy hearts had been lightened with laughter. Those men were a blessing being able to bring the spirit of laughter into a room. God had answered our prayer with the perfect barber!
I believe we have all heard the benefits of laughter. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is a natural stress reliever and it increases your immune system. It improves circulation and muscle tone, and it increases your heart rate and certain hormones and endorphins which make you feel better. Laughing usually leads to a brighter outlook on life and is good for the body and the soul. Studies have shown babies and children laugh hundreds of times a day. Adults, on the other hand, often barely make it to double digits. Science has finally validated what King Solomon told us thousands of years ago! In Proverbs 15: 13, he wrote, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."
Job's friends gave him hope when they told him in Job 8: 21, that God, "will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." That would give me hope! Luke 6: 21b, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." Even when we are in the valleys, we can sometimes find humor in life and that makes it a bit brighter. I cannot imagine how blah life would be without laughter. I think if we would laugh more our attitude would be better and our future would seem brighter.
We are blessed to be able to experience hope and joy regardless of our circumstances. King David wrote about it in Psalm 30: 11. "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness." Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh..."
When God led His people out of captivity, they were so relieved and thankful that they laughed and shouted for joy. It is easy to dwell on the negative but remember Psalm 126: 2, "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.'" We can't deny our tough times but we have access to the Holy Spirit who assures us of God's presence in our lives. Because we have His love and grace poured on us, we can laugh out loud! Psalm 32: 11, " Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! "
I believe God intends for us to laugh and I believe laughter is a wonderful gift from God. Judges 19: 6, "Let your heart be merry." Let's remember what Proverbs 17: 22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
I agree with Jimmy Buffet, “If we could not laugh we would all go insane.” Have you laughed today?