Done any “internal jogging” lately?
That’s the phrase some researchers use to describe the therapeutic benefit of laughter because it increases our heart rate much like physical exercise does. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of “yucking” it up much better than the notion of taking a run.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer as a young wife and mother, I honestly wondered if I would ever really laugh again. Life felt so very serious and it was hard to imagine having a really good belly laugh over anything.
That’s why when I came home from the hospital; I sent my husband directly to the video store (remember them?) to get me every “Pink Panther” movie he could find. You may not enjoy Peter Seller’s slapstick comedy as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, but I always have found it impossible to watch and not laugh.
So I watched them all. I laughed through them all. And it was very good medicine.
Now I am not one who believes laughter always can cure what ails you, but I definitely believe the proverb that tells us “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” My Bible footnotes say the literal translation is “a cheerful heart causes good healing.”
It is a real understatement to say that cancer (or any other serious illness) isn’t very funny. But it’s not an overstatement to say that we can find joy and even laughter in the midst of theses trials. You have to look for it and sometimes you have to even create it for yourself (go ahead and rent some funny movies!).
If you can’t think of anything funny or a reason to be cheerful, try this one from Psalm 118:24: This is the day the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!”
Every day is a gift from God. The fact that you are alive is reason enough to rejoice. You can show love and be loved. No matter what else happens–or doesn’t happen–go ahead and be glad in today. It will be good medicine. And here’s a prayer you may want to pray today (based on Nehemiah 8:10 and Numbers 6:24-26):
Lord, I pray that You will give me a cheerful heart, in spite of all I’ve gone through and all that still is ahead. I know I don’t have to just smile, pretend I’m happy and that everything is all right. But I do want to feel Your quiet joy in me and even hear laughter from my lips. I want to remember that there is life after and even with a serious illness.
Please help me to heed Nehemiah’s words not to be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. And Holy Spirit, please develop in me the fruit of joy—a joy that’s not based on my circumstances, but on my relationship with my Father. Let it be a joy that is simply grateful for the gift of another day to love and be loved.
I pray, Lord, that You will bless me and protect me. That You will smile on me and be gracious to me. And that You will show me Your favor and give me Your peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today’s Tip: Remember it’s impossible to tickle yourself, so get some help to tickle your funny bone—watch a comedy, browse a store’s humorous greeting card section or hang out with a funny friend. Laughter, like yawning is contagious! (Check out today’s “Laughing Song”–no amazing lyrics, just puppets yucking it up 🙂 )
(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)
(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and insert this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5V-I5Wy334&list=RDq5V-I5Wy334#t=1 )