Thursday, November 17, 2016

Choosing a Grateful Heart in the Midst of a Grumbling Culture

Years ago, I was at a women's retreat, and something happened that was funny. I don't even remember what it was, but I laughed until I cried. 

The next day, one of my friends said, "I watched you last night and realized I'd never seen you laugh before."

I was taken aback at first, but she was right. I didn't laugh much back then. 

Not long ago, I saw an article about the health benefits of laughter.  (WebMDMayo Clinic). I have some questions about the science behind the "studies" that support the article, but the premise is right. Even Scripture tells us a happy heart is good for us. 

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, 
but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." 
Proverbs 17:22 NLT

The lack of laughter has been on my mind a lot lately. For obvious reasons. There's not much to laugh about. 

Terrorists hack people to death and dream up new ways to torture and maim every day. India and Ethiopia have been in economic and civil turmoil. My friend has a voodoo church behind her house. I'm deeply concerned for people I love who are in danger. 

Evil abounds, and I've spent hours every day praying about the world's woes. There's nothing funny in any of it.

Even so, there's no getting past the need for a cheerful heart. There's no denying that our Lord Jesus was a party-going of man. 

I've worked long hours at very intense work for months. Short sleep. Too many skipped meals. Not even a chuckle, much less a laugh. 

In the midst of praying about terrorists and evil, I began to pray about laughing. 

I know. That sounds crazy, but Scripture says to pray about everything.

A few nights ago, a man in my Sunday School class posted about my casual health advice. He allowed me to see myself from his eyes, and it was the funniest thing I've read in ages. I laughed until I cried, and felt tremendously better afterward. (You can go to my Facebook page and read it.)

I felt so much better that I've decided to step aside from all the anger, turmoil, and evil for a long weekend, clean my house, and look for fun. 

Maybe you should do the same. No matter what provocation comes your way, a soft answer turns away wrath. A cheerful heart is good medicine. The world is a tough, dark place, 

Stop engaging and start laughing. You'll feel better. 
ps - the flower in the photo always makes me smile.
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The Battle Plan of Jesus: Fighting With Love
If you'd like to help support this ministry outreach, here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841

#laughteristhebestmedicine #laugh