Laughing Your Way to Heaven

December 3, 2000

A blurb in USA Today reports that children laugh an average of 400 times a day while adults laugh 15 times a day. If anything, that latter number seems high to me. I know a few folks who apparently haven’t laughed since the Truman administration. But then again life is hard and no one gets a free ride and perhaps some people think that laughter is a sign that you don’t take life seriously enough. So I ask myself, Why do children laugh so much? I think it’s because no one has told them not to. They laugh because they haven’t yet learned to doubt everything they hear and see. The world still amazes them. Watch a child long enough and you’ll see him giggle over a ladybug and clap his hands with glee when the cat nuzzles up against him. Somewhere I read that angels fly because they take themselves lightly and God seriously. Our problem is nearly the exact opposite. We take ourselves so seriously (I wonder who the next president will be?) that we don’t have time to laugh at anything. Laughter is for kids. Right, and the other part of the statement is true, too. We get so wrapped up in our own affairs that we forget that God is God and we’re not. Children have no problem taking God seriously, which is why Jesus said you need the faith of a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Do you think we will laugh in heaven? Yes, of course we will.

I should also mention that laughter is good for the body as well as the soul. Dr. Lee Berk of the Loma Linda School of Medicine says that laughter plays a role in promoting good health. Laughter helps produce NK cells, which fight infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis. Laughter also suppresses the release of cortisol, a hormone that weakens the immune system. Laughter raises the body’s pain threshold and acts as a muscle relaxer. It also increases circulatory capacity and strengthens organs, helping the body to become more resistant to infection while boosting energy levels.

The article had a headline that said, “If you want to live longer, die laughing.” That’s nice, but Solomon said it better in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Underneath all this is a huge theological truth that we keep bumping up against. As long as we believe that everything depends on us, we don’t have time to relax, much less to laugh. But if we believe in the prevenient grace of God, we can take time to chuckle because we know that the future rests in his good hands. Once again the Bible is proved true. A merry heart doeth good like medicine, a little child shall lead them, and having been saved by grace, we will enter heaven laughing with eternal joy.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?