May 3rd Devotion

Laughter Is Good Medicine
By Whitney Hopler

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  
Proverbs 17:22 NIV

I recently took an unusual type of history tour: It was presented by comedians. We rode through the streets of Asheville, North Carolina on a bus as the comedians told true stories of the city’s history through a humorous lens. That was an impressive accomplishment, because Asheville's history was full of serious challenges. There were tuberculosis patients who came for the mountain air but didn’t find healing. There were mental hospital patients who died in a fire. There were business owners who fell into heavy debt during the Great Depression. The comedians didn’t gloss over those tragedies or disrespect the people involved. But, by gently using humor to tell the honest history of Asheville – both the good and the bad – they encouraged us to learn from it in fresh ways. Learning Asheville’s history through the lens of humor expanded my perspective, so I could see the good that God brought out of those challenges for people who trusted him.

In this fallen world, we often encounter trouble. However, in the middle of life’s challenges, Proverbs 17:22 reminds us of the profound truth that a cheerful heart is good medicine. We can’t escape challenging circumstances, but we can overcome them. Through this Bible verse, God calls us to embrace the healing power of a cheerful heart. One especially powerful way to develop a cheerful heart is to enjoy humor and laughter.

Laughter is a gift from God, designed to bring lightness to our spirits in this heavy world. It has a remarkable ability to relieve our stress, to encourage us, and to bring perspective to our circumstances. Laughter transcends language barriers and cultural differences to unite us in moments of shared joy. It’s a powerful antidote to the heaviness of the challenging circumstances we all sometimes face.

When we develop a cheerful heart by taking opportunities to laugh, we reflect the joy of our Creator, who delights in the well-being of his children. Through laughter, we acknowledge God’s goodness and choose to trust in that goodness, even in the middle of difficult situations. But if we allow our challenges to crush our spirits, that will sap our strength and vitality. Letting despair take root in our hearts can lead to spiritual and physical deterioration. Just like dried up bones, a crushed spirit leaves us frail and depleted.

So, let’s embrace the wisdom of Proverbs 17:22 and develop cheerful hearts. It’s important not to underestimate the power of laughter to bring healing and renewal to our lives. We need to be intentional about finding moments of humor and sharing laughter with other people. We can share jokes, memes, or puns with friends, family, or coworkers – either in person or through social media. We can watch comedy shows, stand-up specials, or funny movies that resonate with our sense of humor. We can read humorous novels, comic strips, or satirical essays. Every day, we can take advantage of the opportunities God gives us to enjoy our lives – despite the difficulties we face.

When we do so, we honor God and testify to his goodness. Enjoying humor every day helps us notice and appreciate the wonder of God’s work in our lives – even in difficult situations. The more we laugh, the more our perspective grows larger, revealing how God’s goodness is happening all around us. Cheerful hearts help us experience more joy in our lives, no matter what we’re going through. When we develop cheerful hearts, we can also point people who are struggling in this dark world to the light of hope God offers them. Cheerful hearts are good medicine for everyone!
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