A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 ESV
Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before:
Laughter is the best medicine.
Sure everyone likes to laugh, but what does that cliché really mean? Laughter can’t cure cancer or heal a broken leg. Laughter can’t improve your mother’s failing eyesight or rid your son of his asthma. So what did Solomon mean in claiming that “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”? Is joy really all that beneficial to our health?
Well, no offense to Solomon, but I like to think of joy as a disease rather than a medicine. I mean, we do say that laughter is contagious.
With this in mind, there is quote by Dr. David Jeremiah,
The soul and the body live so close together that sometimes they catch each other’s diseases.
That which afflicts the soul, afflicts the body. Take depression for example. It is common knowledge that depression, an emotional and sometimes chemical problem, has some very physical symptoms – headaches, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, etc. In this case, a disease that primarily attacks the soul has a very real impact on the body, as well.
Imagine now that that soul was afflicted with joy rather than depression? Could not joy produce physical symptoms of its own? Perhaps laughter is, after all, a physical symptom of joy.
If you are a Christian, take a moment to recall the hour you first believed. What joy and peace captured you in that moment? Did not all worries and ailments, all trials and hardships become dim and insignificant in light of your newfound joy? That test you had to take, that sickness you were fighting, those bills you couldn’t pay – were they even on your mind? Did they really even matter anymore?
I’m guessing the answer is “no.” I’m guessing you were far too joyful, far too grateful, for any of those things to seem important anymore. That is because when it is well with your soul, it is well . . . all is well.
Okay, so maybe joy and laughter really can make us healthier, body and soul. But what if we aren’t joyful? What if we can’t find any joy? What if there is nothing to laugh about?
Well, the first thing you need to do is plug yourself into the Source of all joy. You are not, now nor will you ever be, truly joyful until you know Jesus Christ as God. Then, you catch joy the same way you’d catch any other contagious disease, by surrounding yourself with those who have it.
Need a little pick-me-up? Do what I do. Google “quotes about laughter” or “verses about joy.” Or laugh out loud right now. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re laughing at, just laugh. It’ll brighten your day. And don’t forget to surround yourself with joyful, encouraging people.
God, You have given me many blessings: home, family, work and health. You created the world for me. You became man and died for me. You breathed life into my very lungs. For all this I am thankful, though certainly not as thankful as I should be. God forgive me, for often I ignore and take for granted, one of Your greatest gifts: joy - joy that flows from the peace that springs from the hope that is poured out in Jesus Christ. Let me know that joy every day. Let me laugh with You every day, and let Your joy be contagious in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Spend a little time picturing Jesus laughing and what His laugh might have sounded like. It’s the best thing you’ll do today.