Studies have shown babies and children laugh hundreds of times a day. Adults, on the other hand, often barely make it to double digits. Even joyful people can feel weighed down by the pressures and heartaches of life.
But Jesus said whoever humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4).
Maybe it's time to turn your troubles over to God and become more like a child—full of joy and laughter. Here are five things the Bible says about laughing, along with a few ways to bring out your inner child:
1. Take time to laugh. "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:1, 4).
If you've been on this planet for more than a few years, you know life isn't one big laugh. It's filled with difficult trials. Even so, the Bible declares there is "a time to laugh." Some ways to incorporate more laughter into your life: Talk to a friend with a good sense of humor, retell a funny story from the past or play a practical joke on a good friend or family member. Need another idea? Spending time around children or pets is typically a surefire way to ramp up the laughter.
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2. Share joy. "A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22).
Don't keep joy to yourself. Share the "good medicine" of a joyful heart with others. Have you brought joy or laughter to someone today? If not, think of a way you can make one person laugh. It'll bring joy to both of your hearts.
3. Lighten Your Load. "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh" (Luke 6:21).
Have you ever been so sad that you thought you'd never laugh again? If you are a follower of Christ, you are blessed to be part of God's kingdom. The God of the universe can bring you comfort and inner peace even as you struggle with a heavy heart.
Being "blessed" is about experiencing hope and joy regardless of circumstances. King David once wrote about it this way: "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness" (Ps. 30:11). Feeling burdened today? Ask God to lighten your load.
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4. Savor surprises—and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. "And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh. All who hear will laugh with me.' Also she said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age'" (Gen. 21:6-7).
Abraham's wife, Sarah, waited 90 years to become a mother. Thinking there was no way she could provide a family heir herself, she was downright dumbfounded when told she would have a son. She had to laugh out of pure joy. Think of a time when you were pleasantly surprised by God's timing.
5. Expect great things. "Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. 'The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad" (Ps. 126:2).
When God led His people out of captivity and brought them back to their homeland, they were so relieved and thankful that they laughed and shouted for joy. After spending 70 years as captives, one of the first things they did was build an altar and worship God.
It can be easy to dwell on things that aren't going your way, but remember the verse above—God does do great things. Keep an eye out this week for the great things He is doing in your life, then take a moment to thank Him for it.
Billy Graham has spent decades preaching about our serious need for Christ, but he also has a lighthearted side. Read 10 funny stories from his 6-plus decades in ministry.
True joy begins with knowing the God who created you. Find peace with God today.
For the original article, visit billygraham.org.