When I was two years old, I realized that I could make people laugh by walking around with my soother stuck in my ear. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on laughter. As I exited diapers and entered school, I was horrified to discover that teachers didn’t share the same passion for humour. In fact, they had me stay after class to write things on the chalkboard. I will not put frogs in Marylou’s lunch bag. I will not burp the ABCs. They said, “What’s so funny? Wipe that grin off your face. Take that carrot out of your nose.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could make a living with laughter. But that’s what I get to do today.
It wasn’t easy at first. For one thing, I had to earn money to buy food, because my children wouldn’t eat anything else. But before long people started to call. “Just come make us laugh,” they said. And I was cheese in a barbecue.
Did you know that laughter is good for you? A hundred studies show that laughter plays a key role in good health and longevity. And I’m amazed at how God has designed humour to help heal humans emotionally and mentally.
I was speaking at an event when Devin introduced himself and told me his amazing story. Devon is a pastor. He was driving to speak at a gathering of leaders when he turned into a gas station. A pickup truck screeched up beside him. The driver slammed his door and began punching and kicking the black car at the pump in front of him. The driver, a terrified young lady, slumped beside her car, sobbing in terror. Devin stepped bravely between the lady and the violent man. That’s the last thing he remembers for more than a year.
“I was told he stopped punching and kicking her car and started on me,” Devin said. His Good Samaritan act resulted in head trauma, amnesia, and a host of disorders including PTSD. “Apart from God, laughter became my deepest friend,” he later wrote in a letter to me. “I turned to your books. It was a challenge to read, but knowing I would receive a laugh pushed me on to read a sentence, then a paragraph and months after the incident I was finally able to read—and laugh—at the same time. I have come to realize afresh the power a joy-filled spirit possesses.” Thanks Reverend Devin. Or Rev. Dev as he calls himself. One of the Bible verses he loves is from the prophet Nehemiah who told the people, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Today Rev. Dev. is helping addicted young people find hope in Jesus.
I don’t know what you’re up against today, but my prayer is that you’ll remember that there’s hope ahead. The day will come when with God’s strength you can laugh again.