We’ve all heard it said, “The couple that laughs together, stays together” and I couldn’t agree more. Laughter isn’t the only necessary ingredient for a happy marriage, but it certainly bonds people. Haven’t you ever had a funny episode in public and wound up laughing with strangers? Chuckling over a leaky milk carton or some such mishap with an old man at the grocery store? You leave the scene grinning and wishing you could get to know that person better. You’ve brightened each other’s day and that small event has somehow brought you closer together than you ever would have been if the laughter hadn’t occurred. Laughter bonds us.
And if you think this only applies to romantic relationships and interactions with strangers, you’re really missing out. My favorite people to laugh with are my siblings. And I have plenty of those to laugh with. My seventeen-year old sister and I often joke about how we wish “other people” knew how funny we are. When we’re together, we’re hilarious. Or at least, we make each other laugh a lot!
There is a certain wholesomeness about two people being silly in front of each other. If you don’t have anyone to be silly with, you might as well be lonely! It’s just my personal opinion, but I think we will be silly in heaven. Not all silly all the time, but I know we’ll laugh and fall into heaps of hysterical, mutual amusement.
Contrary to what many people think, the Bible is full of humor. Scholars claim that Scripture includes puns, wordplay, riddles, jokes, satires, sarcasm, irony, wit, slapstick, caricatures and parody! Who of us hasn’t chuckled at the irony of a talking donkey or the sarcasm of Elijah to the worshipers of Baal? (Numbers 22:22-41 and 1 Kings 18:20-40)
I believe that Jesus laughed with his friends and told jokes and I believe that He wants us to do the same. Humor is something we are born with — it is part of our natural make-up. If something is so innate and so enjoyable and even Biblical, why don’t we do it more?
Sometimes, of course, it is not appropriate to laugh or make light of a situation. I’ve had to learn this the hard way. When I am uncomfortable, sad or feeling helpless, I tend to wrack my brain for a joke. It may seem like a weird habit, but it is my first device when things seem bleak. However, this sometimes ends in me putting my foot in my mouth. Or sounding offensive. Or both.
But with the right amount of sensitivity to those around you, laughing during hard times is an excellent practice. In a description of an excellent woman, Proverbs 31:25 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” This is a very wise, responsible woman according to the rest of the chapter. Why would she laugh at the future? Shouldn’t she, instead, prepare and consider the future with a serious attitude?
Nope! When do we have trouble laughing at something? When we’re worried, terrified, pessimistic. If instead we put our trust in God, knowing that our circumstances are in His hands and He has already overcome the world, we are able to boldly and joyfully laugh at the time to come! ”Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?” 1 Peter 3:13
It has been one of those years in which it seems each of my siblings are in a transitional phase. One sister is desperate for a new job while one brother is discerning whether or not to take the one that’s been offered him. One sister is graduating from high school and asking, “What’s next?” My brother-in-law is hoping for a promotion. There are moments when brows furrow and knuckles whiten and we wonder what in the world God has for us around the bend. But there are nights — blessed nights! — when we’re together by the fire or at the dining table, laughing into our teacups. Because it would be silly not to.