Anyone who has been in church for very long knows what it's like to have an altar call or blessing service. People are broken and hurting and they turn their hearts to God. As they pour out their emotions, there is often crying and weeping as feelings overwhelm them. We had one of those services today and as usual there was a lot of people crying.
But then one person started laughing. It was as spontaneous and heartfelt as any of the weeping. Then she asked in amazement "Why are we all crying?" You know, she has a point.
The word "joy" appears in the NIV Bible 242 times.
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.
1 Samuel 18:6
Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Everything about God should fill us with happiness. When we were lost, He found us. When we are hurting, He heals us. When we deserved Hell, He saved us. When Jesus died, He gave us His greatest gift. Christianity should be about laughter and joy, not weeping and sadness. We should feel elated, not burdened. Our hearts should burst with glad feelings, not sad ones.
So I sincerely hope that at some point in your day and your week, you can erupt with spontaneous laughter. And when you're praying in church next time, surprise people with giggles and glee. Then remind them of Nehemiah 8:10....Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.