When you think of Jesus, do think of a man who walked around like he “carried the weight of the world” on His shoulders. (He did—but do you think he constantly acted like it?) We know, especially in the latter years of His life that His mission was urgent–to get the message out about who His father was and why He sent Him. But do you think of Jesus as ever just having “fun.”
Jesus had a childhood. He had family and friends. Brothers and sisters and cousins. It is difficult to imagine a bunch of kids being around each other for very long and not playing and having fun. Although He was the oldest, I can picture Him wrestling with His brothers as brothers customarily do, and tickling and swinging His sisters around causing them to giggle incessantly.
Even as an adult, Jesus loved children. With children comes laughter. Children don’t enjoy hanging around people who are solemn, serious, and never smile. Yet they came to Jesus (Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 9:36&37) even when they had to work their way to him through the seemingly impenetrable barricade of his disciples.
Don’t you imagine Jesus and his disciples enjoyed a laugh or two? Maybe one of them snored too loud, tended to trip over his own feet, snorted when he laughed, or constantly put his foot in his mouth. (We know Peter suffered with “foot in mouth” disease.) Don’t you think some of the time they just had to laugh to relieve the seriousness that pervaded their lives?
I admit to being one of those people who think of Jesus as serious and solemn. Sometimes I see him smiling compassionately, but I never took the time to think about him “laughing.” However, that changed recently. I was in the doctor’s office, having tests done. I won’t go into detail except to say that it was a urologist’s office, and although necessary, it was very difficult to maintain any sense of dignity in the situation. Not that the nurse was unkind; she was great. But I think you get the picture that the situation was embarrassing to say the least. And although the tests did not hurt, they were extremely uncomfortable.
As I laid there on that table, my dignity and pride stripped from me, and extremely uncomfortable, I physically turned my head to the left as I cried out (in my mind) “Jesus! Are you there?” And He was! He appeared to me in my mind’s eye, smiling compassionately down at me as He squeezed my shoulder to comfort me. I had his reassurance that, yes, He was there. And then an amazing thing happened. We laughed! We laughed at the embarrassing situation, at the undignified way the tests had to be done, at the humiliating way I way I was feeling.
Let me remind you, that I never physically or audibly laughed. This all happened in mind. But it happened. And what started out as a totally embarrassing, humiliating, and undignified situation, suddenly became a humorous and, although not pleasant, bearable experience. After all, Jesus was with me!
Jesus himself encouraged us to be joyful. And Jesus loved a good party. His first miracle was at a wedding. Many of his parables, end with celebrations, such as the in the parable of the prodigal son returning home. And what about when He raised Lazarus from the dead! I can only imagine what a party was going on after that miraculous event. Don’t you think these events included laughter?
Rejoice and be glad… Matthew 5:12 (NIV)
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, Ecclesiastes 3:1&4a (NIV)
The Apostle Paul even commands us to 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NIV). I would like to encourage you that even in serious and frightening circumstances look around and see if you can’t find comfort and humor in your situation. At times, it may seem to be an impossible task, but I assure you that Jesus can come through for you and He can and will put a “smile” in your heart—maybe even a giggle or two.
Whatever situation you find yourself in today, my friend, Jesus is with you. Acknowledge Him and make him a part of your experience
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