We live in a chaotic and stress-filled world today. But God has given His children a powerful weapon we often neglect. We can use God’s secret weapons when facing even the most difficult problems. Joy and laughter are priceless gifts from God—weapons we’d do well to employ more often.
Joy in Trouble
When facing trouble, our first response isn’t usually to rejoice. Yet the Bible tells us in the letter from James “… when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.*” We can’t always avoid trouble—it’s part of life. And we certainly don’t usually choose difficulties. But we can choose our response—whether we allow trouble to upset or crush us, or we use it to our advantage.
The Message Bible translates the passage above this way: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
After all, whether we buckle under the pressure of trouble or decide to rejoice, it probably won’t change the circumstances, but it can change us. When we face difficulties, even little frustrations, we can choose to rejoice and let God use it for our growth.
Look Back and Laugh
Over the years, it’s helped me to see humor in tough situations, or at the very least to look back later and laugh at them. I remember as a teenager driving my boyfriend’s mother’s brand new car right through a wall in his father’s factory. And this wasn’t just any wall, but one where five-gallon drums of oil where stacked floor to ceiling. It was an unbelievable mess! The car was totaled and, though unhurt, I was devastated.
As I stood dazed, staring at the havoc, a wise and fatherly workman sat me down and gave me a cup of tea. He assured me that one day I would look back and laugh at this. It was hard to believe then, but he was right. I’ve often laughed about it since. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Laughter is Just Plain Good for You!
Joy and laughter are good for our emotional, spiritual and physical health. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.” Modern science is proving this correct. According to an increasing volume of research, laughter improves our immune system, reduces stress hormones, and can lower blood pressure and ease pain. Laughter is a delightful and precious gift from God. Author Chuck Swindoll describes it well. “Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.”
The enemy would like us to believe the lie that God is joyless and humorless. And though there are times when we should be serious, we also need to be careful not to take ourselves too seriously. I just can’t imagine Jesus being somber all the time. I think He laughed with His disciples and likely teased them. We were created to laugh. I never think of Martin Luther as being especially funny, but he’s famous for declaring, “If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.”
Joy and laughter are gifts—God’s secret weapons we can use in times of trouble. How have you used joy and laughter to your advantage? Share a story about a time when God’s secret weapons ruined the enemy’s plans and turned disaster into joy.
*James 1:2, New Living Translation