November 19, 2021 — Changing Laughter into Laughter of Joy

“You ever have anyone laugh at you because of your faith?” I asked Stan one morning.

“More times than I can count,” he replied, “especially when I first came to faith.”

“How do you handle that?” I asked.

“Then or now?” he asked.

“Is there a difference?”

“Sure is.  When I first came to faith and people laughed at me for what I said I believed, I was more embarrassed than anything.  I wasn’t sufficiently mature in my faith to really have a response, so I usually didn’t respond. I just kept away from those people.”

“However,” he continued, “as I have matured in my faith, I am secure in what I believe and I’m  able to share my story with those people.”

“Your personal testimony?” I asked. “Is that what you mean?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I’ve found that people can’t really argue with my personal experience. They may not believe it and certainly may not understand, but that’s as it is. My role is to tell the truth in love. They may continue to laugh, but that doesn’t bother me, just like it didn’t bother Jesus.”

“Didn’t bother Jesus?” I responded. “What do you mean? Did some people laugh at Him?”

“Sure did,” Stan said. “There’s a story in Luke’s gospel about a man named Jairus who asked Jesus to heal his sick daughter, but before Jesus could reach the daughter, Jarius was told that his daughter had died. Nevertheless, Jesus went to Jarius’ house where there was a whole bunch of people weeping and lamenting for the daughter. Jesus told them to stop weeping because the girl wasn’t dead, but was just sleeping. That’s when they laughed at Jesus.”

“Why did they laugh?” I asked.

“It says they laughed because they knew the girl had died, and by implication that they knew it was the end of the story.”

“But it wasn’t?”

“It was not,” Stan replied. “It says that Jesus took the girl’s hand and said, ‘Child, arise!’ And she did. She rose up immediately.”

“Did the people quit laughing at that point?” I asked.

“It doesn’t say that,” Stan said. “It just records that the girl’s parents were amazed, but I can just imagine what the people thought when they saw the girl walking around. They probably thought they laughed for the wrong reason, and that’s my prayer for all of the people who may laugh at anyone for what they believe.”

“Wrong reason?” I replied, “How so?”

“My prayer,” he replied, “is that their laughter will change from laughter at the person into laughter of joy because they, too, have come to realize they didn’t know as much as they thought, and have come to believe and accept the truth of God’s free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption!”

_______________________________

Bible verses to consider:

Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. Luke 8:52-53.

And when Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in noisy disorder, He began to say, “Depart; for the girl is not dead, but is asleep.” And they were laughing at Him. Matthew 9:23-24.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7.

Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for building in me the faith to believe all you have for me to believe. I confess that there have been too many times when my belief in what you say was less than what you wanted when, in essence, I laughed at the possibility that I did not know what was best on my own. Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible faith so I truly believe, accept, and embrace all you have for me, both for eternal purposes for when my time here is done, and for the life you have for me to live before then. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Can you relate to the story of the people who laughed at Jesus because they thought they knew more than He did about the situation? Have you ever laughed at another person’s statement of faith? If so, what was that all about? Have you come to faith so that you are in the position of being laughed at by those who don’t know the truth of your faith? If so, is your faith strong enough to be able to handle being laughed at? If you sense you need better preparation, how is that going to happen?

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