Mar 19, 2012

Helpful Humor

 “When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, ‘Is there any word from the Lord?’ And Jeremiah said, ‘There is.’ Then he said, ‘You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!’”   ~Jer. 37:16-17

     Most mornings when I get up, it’s dark out still and my body tells me that my warm bed would be much nicer than sitting up in a cold chair. Even as I’m reading my Bible, I’m often distracted. As a result, I often read Scripture emotionlessly since it takes most of my effort simply to keep my mind on reading. Today, however, I was shocked by this passage. (Now you’re really beginning to wonder what the topic is going to be.) Totally and utterly shocked, I might add. Why, you ask? Because it was funny.  Here  is Jeremiah,  who, after over 35 years of speaking the same message and after numerous proclamations to Zedekiah, is now being taken out of prison to be questioned by Zedekiah. All those years, Jeremiah spoke what the Lord put in his mouth. Yet Zedekiah secretly (oohhh) takes him and says, “Is there any word from the Lord?” I can picture Jeremiah leaning over just as secretly and whispering, “There is.” Then I can see Zedekiah somewhat lightening up only to hear the same thing he’s been hearing for years. Now I suppose that just reading the passage above wouldn’t give you that same reaction, but for me, after just reading through chapters and chapters of judgments, it seemed quite humorous.
     You’ve probably thought of God’s humor before, but my guess is you’ve probably not really ever imagined Him as a God who gives great roars of laughter. Yet how He must laugh at us! There was one day when I was driving along through Turlock and I had to go through a lot of lights. Since I was due at an appointment in a few minutes and I was still a few minutes away, I prayed that the Lord would keep all the lights green. I drove up to the first one and it was red, but just as I started slowing down, it turned green. The same thing happened with the second, third, and fourth lights. Just as I arrived, the lights would turn green. Then I reached the fifth and I could see my destination. This time I was expecting the light to be green. Sure enough, I could see it had turned green up ahead. As I approached it I thought to myself, “Now it would be somewhat amusing if it turned red right now.” Sure enough, it turned red. Though I ended up being right on time, it still served as a lesson to me that yes, the Lord answers prayer, but He enjoys throwing in an unexpected twist to grow our faith.
     Seriousness is necessary in the Christian life, of course. After all, the message of the cross is not a joke to be told and laughed at. However, just as seriousness is needed, so is laughter. The Lord did not create us as perpetually solemn people. He created us each with our own unique sense of humor. In my opinion, humor is a great blessing from the Lord, especially for the Christian. In the midst of suffering, trials, and temptations, humor can help make the burden feel lighter and can help us get our minds off what the problem is in order to look to the solution. As a result, humor leads to a more cheerful spirit. Though, as with all things, humor should be used with wisdom (which means knowing when to stop telling jokes or making puns), it can be like a healing balm. So, go forth with a spirit of joyfulness and may your cheerful spirit be an example and encouragement to others.
Your brother in Christ,
“A merry heart does good, like medicine” ~Prov. 17:22

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