A Joyful Heart . . . It's Good Medicine!


A few things in life are absolutely tragic. Some are mysteriously strange. Many, however, are just plain funny.

There isn’t a day that passes in which I fail to see, hear, or read something that makes me smile. And because laughter is such effective therapy, I’m grateful that God dispenses this divine medication so frequently.

For instance, rules and statutes aren’t meant to be amusing . . . but sometimes they are. I find some of them downright hilarious. Some examples?

  • In Danville, Pennsylvania, fire hydrants must be checked one hour before all fires.
  • Oklahoma law requires that drivers involved in fatal accidents stop immediately and give their names and addresses to those who were struck.
  • In Lakefield, Ontario, legislation permits birds to sing for 30 minutes during the day and 15 minutes at night.

Religious stuff can also get a few chuckles out of me. Some church architecture is out-and-out unusual—and odd! Not to mention what happens when I find myself in an ultrasomber meeting . . . I occasionally have to bite my lip when I realize that a silent smile could make scandalous waves.

Furthermore, we preachers are an incredibly funny lot. When I study the lives of the pulpiteers of yesteryear, I chuckle to know that many of them were wild ’n’ crazy characters.

I also find a host of funny material in Scripture. Many of the scenes are a crackup! And that is exactly as God planned it. He would never author a colorless, dry, or boring Book. He is the One, you’ll recall, who led Solomon to write:

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

To which I shout a hearty “Amen!” having been around many a broken spirit with dried-up bones in my lifetime.

My plea is not that we read the comics, watch mindless sitcoms, or tell a lot of silly jokes to each other. That’s external, superficial, and shallow. I’m suggesting that we become more lighthearted, relishing life more as our confidence in the sovereign Lord grows. After all, He gave us humor to enjoy and genuine smiles when we take pleasure in His gift.

Let’s lighten up rather than surrender to intensity and worry. A truly cheerful face radiates from a relaxed, joyful heart.

A few things in life are absolutely tragic, no question about it. But a joyless Christian . . . that’s ridiculous!

Rejoice in the Lord always;
Again I will say, rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “A Joyful Heart . . . It’s Good Medicine!” Insights (March 2001): 1-2. Copyright © 2001, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

About the author


Pastor Chuck Swindoll

Pastor Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs around the world. Chuck’s leadership as president and now chancellor emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry.

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