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No Laughing Matter

Laughter is a great medicine.  We know that is true from Scripture (Prov. 17:22), and we also have experienced that reality in life. Any time we hear laughter around us, we just feel better. When that laughter breaks out in a conversation we are having, then it is sheer pleasure. 

With all the benefits of laughter, it would seem that there are no drawbacks or bad things that could result from laughing at episodes or events of life, news, or issues. Or, is it possible that making light of something long enough through humor reduces its validity and can eliminate its impact? 

One of the ways that media tends to re-shape our thinking about issues is to present it as comical, then as a little uncomfortable, then make us comfortable with the concept, then accepting, and then demanding the “subject” be accepted by all.  Anything that the majority deems “comical”, insignificant, no longer an issue to be rejected, and only acceptance of its benign status tolerated, becomes part of the fabric of a generation’s social norms.

Not only is this true of what were once held as moral vices being fully endorsed now in our culture, it is also true of the ultimate realities of spiritual truths. That even applies to heaven and hell.  The culture has led us to believe that both destinations are mythical and only exist in the imagination of overly creative thinkers that wrote Scripture.  I can assure you that Heaven is no figment of imagination.  Jesus called it “My Father’s House”.  And that same Jesus told us more about hell than any other person in Scripture.  Eternity is no laughing matter.

Appreciation of heaven is frequently highest among those nearing death. Suffering both increases our desire for heaven and prepares us for it. John Bradford (1510-1555), less than five months before his fiery departure from life for preaching the gospel in violent times, wrote to a friend of the glories of heaven he anticipated.  Here is an excerpt of his thoughts….:

I am assured that though I want here, I have riches there; though I hunger here, I shall have fullness there; though I faint here, I shall be refreshed there; and though I be accounted here as a dead man, I shall there live in perpetual glory.

That is the city promised to the captives whom Christ shall make free; that is the kingdom assured to them whom Christ shall crown; there is the light that shall never go out; there is the health that shall never be impaired; there is the glory that shall never be defaced; there is the life that shall taste no death; and there is the portion that passes all the world’s preferment.There is the world that shall never wax worse; there is every want supplied freely without money; there is not danger, but happiness, and honor, and singing, and praise and thanksgiving unto the heavenly Jehovah, “to Him that sits on the throne,” “to the Lamb” that here was led to the slaughter, that now “reigns” with whom I “shall reign” after I have run this comfortless race through this miserable earthly vale.  (John Gilmore, Probing Heaven, Key Questions on the Hereafter, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, pp. 26-27.).