Laughter: The Best Medicine
Have you laughed today?
I’m not talking about a little chuckle or internal giggle when reading a comic strip or hearing a funny joke. Have you REALLY laughed lately, the kind of deep laugh that makes your stomach hurt and tears pop out of your eyes?
Laughter is life. Okay, life is life. And laughter gives meaning and purpose to our lives by letting us step back from our stresses and worries and. just. be. When we laugh at a funny movie or at a friend’s story, we connect on a level that is holy and healing. We try to catch our breath, and sometimes we can’t control the sounds or length of the laughter. What a blessing!
Where do you find humor? How about Isaiah 55?
I know, I know…it’s obvious for a pastor to play “the Bible card.” In this case, I think it applies really well. Scripture in the Bible can be difficult to directly relate to our daily lives in clear, concise ways. In this case, it’s pretty easy because Isaiah chapter 55 encourages each of us to embrace what we really need and also let go of things weighing us down. When we do those things, we are filled with joy and laughter (verse 12), as well as walking through life with peace (Insert deep breath and slowing heart rate). It gives meaning to our lives and gives us the breathing room to laugh until tears stream down. Let’s break down some of this chapter, with my notes in parentheses:
Invitation to the Thirsty – Isaiah 55
55 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; (Feeling empty and spent? Allow yourself to go and ask me -God- and others for help.)
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! (Feel like a failure or like you’re not enough? Share this with Me. Devour the love I have for you.)
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Ask for help, embrace that we don’t have to go it alone. And eat something. = ) )
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? (What is not worth your time, energy or money? Cancel that subscription, delete that phone contact, remove that social media app from your phone. Say “no” to something that depletes you and “yes” to something that excites/scares you.)
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. (How are you living your legacy? What can you change in your schedule that aligns more with what you value and who you want to be in 5 years? Embrace these!)
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. (Take 5-10 minutes each day to sit in silence and truly listen to Me. Those few minutes will add so much value to your other 23.9 hours of the day. Breathe deeply and cherish our sacred daily time together.)
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. (I promise to be active in your life daily, as I have always been. Pay attention, and remember my covenant with you and many others before you.)
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. (I promoted David-an imperfect, beloved person-to advocate for My people. So, too, I have given you a platform to advocate for my people and to stand up against injustice.)
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” (Wake up every morning expecting to be surprised by joy. Embrace this adventure of life, for I -God- am preparing you daily to be my hands and feet on this earth. I am equipping you for the great work of love.)
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; (When you remember My covenant, you will be assured of your call from Me. Life will be hard at times, but you will not doubt who has sent you and the importance of the work you are doing. You will even laugh…a lot! Because this life is to be embraced with love and with joy; you are a miracle, and you are so loved. Allow Me to lead you in peace and without the heavy yolk thrust upon you.)
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (All of Creation is Mine, and you are a part of this wild world. Look around, listen deeply, and you will then feel more connected to all of My Creation. Stop and smell those roses, devour the homemade bread and smile at a stranger.)
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. (When you embrace this life and your call from Me, new growth and great changes will come.)
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever. (All of this is to give glory to Me -God- and to My Son, Jesus the Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit wind surrounding you. This is the essence of life and the joy/laughter of each day. Amen.)
A version of Isaiah 55 in song by one of my favorite songwriters, Sufjan Stevens:
Luke 6:21: “God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now for in due time you will laugh.”
Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
John 15:11: “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
- Check-in: Where are you experiencing laughter? How can you embrace it more often? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
- Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover laughter and joy this weekend? What is one thing you can cancel/release to provide space to feel joy?
- TIme with God: God, thank you for the freedom to laugh. You have given me the gift of a mind and a heart that always have capacity for me to discover and embrace. Open my eyes to surprising and thought-provoking places to experience joy, as I continue to seek Your wisdom and guidance. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.
I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. Go forth with laughter!