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The Power of a Good Laugh


Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Genesis 17:17 KJV



The two most powerful expressions of our emotions are weeping and laughter. Both have a therapeutic element. I remember crying at my mother’s funeral, and for some unknown reason it brought healing to me. The Bible states that laughter makes good like a medicine. Do you remember the last time you had a good belly laugh, where you fell off your chair and with uncontrollable fits of joy you rolled back and forth? Laughter lowers blood pressure and helps relieve anxiety. But what is the chemistry of humor. In other words, what makes funny, funny.

Red Skelton, a comedian of by-gone days, helps us understand the make-up of humor in his monologue titled, “Recipe for a perfect marriage.” Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food, and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays. I go on Fridays. I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back. Two ingredients of humor clearly come to the forefront: reality and surprise. Marriage is a struggle; that is a reality, and Skelton’s sentences end with a surprise.

The patriarch Abraham was faced with the reality of his inability to have children at 100 years old. Not only was he pass childbearing age, but his wife Sarah was 90 years. Faced with these two insurmountable obstacles God declared that he and Sarah would still have the promised son. The announcement was a complete surprise which caused Abraham to fall on his face and laugh. However, it was not the laughter of unbelief as our father of faith was ever rebuked. Neither was he laughing at God or His promise. Abraham was laughing at himself, and spiritually speaking, it was a great moment. It was the ultimate comic relief.

Our faith has matured when we begin to laugh at ourselves. We finally understand that in our flesh dwells no good thing. We have made great strides when we finally view ourselves as unable to live the Christian life. We cannot please God with our efforts, neither can we produce the work of God through our plans. All that Abraham got for his efforts was Ishmael. “Without Me you can do nothing.” God desires to work in and through us, but we must first empty ourselves of any hope that we can live out the Sermon on the Mount, or any other part of scripture. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” The wordpoor” means empty and void and that is the place of God’s blessings. We desire to run ahead when God asked us to step aside and let Him do the work. We fill our emptiness with 1000 things, and He waits until all those are set aside. We are noisy. He wants us to be quiet. Gold, silver, and precious metal at the rewards of Christ work in us. Wood, hay, and stubble are the best we can offer. So, go have a good laugh at yourself and begin to watch Him work.




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