Laughter Is Contagious And Healthy

June 14, 2000
by Amy Garner

Psalm 139:14 – I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. (All quotations today are from the NKJV)

Paul wrote the book of Philippians. What many people don't realize is that Paul was in prison, chained between two guards, when he wrote this letter. I find it hard to imagine how difficult and uncomfortable this was for him, and for the guard also. How did Paul handle this distressful situation? Could he laugh and rejoice during those long days? Can we learn anything from him? Let's find out.

Are you right now, or have you ever been, chained to something? Yes or no? I am afraid I will have to answer "Yes" to that question. You may also answer "Yes" — when I explain. How many know a fellow named Arthur with the last name of Ritus? I know him well. I am chained to him day and night. You may be chained to him too. If so, you also know him well. Most of us have physical, emotional, and other serious problems that we are chained to day and night. Isn't that true?

How do we handle these bonds? Can we learn from Paul? Can we change our worry and complaining to thankfulness and joy in the Lord like Paul did? We find Paul saying, "For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." (Philippians 4:11) Paul learned; we can learn too. But it has to be a conscious decision on our part, and we also have to have the help of our Lord too. I do not think Paul learned this by himself either, and neither can we. In fact, Paul states two verses later, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

We have Christ with us too, so we can do the same, and do it as well as Paul did. We seem to think that we can't do what the people in the Bible did, but that is a lie. They were just like you and me, terribly weak and very sinful.

As Paul told those people so long ago, he tells us today, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) Can we learn to rejoice and even to laugh in the midst of our pain? I believe we can. Let's do what the psalmist told us to do: "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:14) Let's praise the Lord for He is doing His great and marvellous works in our lives. It may even make us healthier.

      The Secret's Out

    There is a secret I found out,
    the less I think or talk about
    my heartaches,

        or the painful things
    the burden lifts and my heart sings.

    The peace faith brings is my reward
    for learning how to trust my Lord;
    He takes my

      heartaches,
        those painful things
    and He lifts me up upon eagle wings.

    I found the secret, there's no doubt,
    it makes me want to laugh and shout.
    He takes my

      praise,
        as I confess —
    and fills me full of gratefulness.

      Amy Woolf Garner ©1999

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

This verse, and the theme of this letter to the Philippians, can be stated in one word. Joy!

Prayer: Lord, teach us to pray, in the midst of our troubles, with thanksgiving for who you are and for what you are doing in our lives. And please fill our hearts with your joy. Amen.

About the author:

Amy Garner
Bennett, North Carolina, USA

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