Recently, I was reminded of the man who asked his pastor to pray for him. “Pastor,” said the man in a loud tone, “I’d like you to pray for my hearing.”

“Are you having trouble with your hearing?” shouted the preacher.

“Yes. Would you pray for my hearing?”

The pastor put his arm over the man’s shoulder and prayed eloquently for the man’s hearing. Finishing his prayer, the pastor asked him loudly, “How’s your hearing now?”

“I don’t know,” replied the man. “It’s not until next week.”

Laughing—whether it’s from silly jokes or the enjoyment of life—can spread encouragement. All it takes are two assets: the glow of gladness and the lift of laughter.


The Glow of Gladness

Gladness is the attitude behind our smiles. Without the joy of the Lord, laughter is no more than hollow echoes in an empty soul. But when we receive the “glad tidings” of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit imparts true joy, and that makes our laughter rich and real. “You have put gladness in my heart,” said the psalmist (Psalm 4:7). Psalm 126:3 says, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

We’re to serve the Lord with gladness and to say, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous will be gladness.” The early Christians “ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart” and were anointed with the “oil of gladness” (Acts 2:46 and Hebrews 1:9).

It’s the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who makes us glad. And when we’re glad in Him, it’s easier to laugh out loud. Proverbs 15 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful” and “the cheerful heart has a continual feast” (verses 13, 15, NIV).


The Lift of Laughter

            The Bible says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Recent studies have reported that laughter truly is a form of medicine. For instance, it can soothe tension, reduce stress, and stimulate vital organs. A good laugh can even improve one’s immune system.1

            Dr. L. Nelson Bell knew this. He was a missionary physician in China during dangerous days. It was said of him: “Dr. Bell was a blithe and happy spirit…. As [he] went through the wards around his rounds, he would have fun and laughter for everybody—a bit of personal banter here and a joke there. They would all roar at his jokes and loved to see him come and hated to see him go. Without a sense of humor, a doctor in China at that time might well be driven to nervous breakdown by the delays, aggravations, broken promises, and a hundred and one pinpricks. Nelson’s humor not only bubbled over but frequently relieved tensions.”2

            We can’t all be missionary physicians, but we can all be missionaries of laughter and physicians of the soul. Proverbs 15:30 says, “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.” Let me paraphrase that: When you have a twinkle in your eyes, it spreads joy to others, and encouraging words make a healthier environment.

            So, learn to laugh at life. There’s a lot of humor in the world—from old black-and-white comedies to modern movies, comics, videos, and books.

            We should learn to laugh at ourselves too. We’re not perfect, and sometimes we all do foolish things. The older we get, the more we should be amused at ourselves and the less we should be embarrassed. I have a friend who once stayed at the Marriott Hotel in Detroit. He put coins into a soda machine on his floor, but it wouldn’t work. Walking down the hall, he found another machine, and it took his money too. He walked down the hall again until he saw another machine and it, too, took his money without giving him his drink. Only on the third trip did he remember the hotel was built in a perfect circle—he had simply been walking around to the same machine three times in a row!

            Laugh out loud today—spreading encouragement wherever you go­—by being glad in the Lord!



David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit

1 “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke,” Mayo Clinic, accessed September 6, 2022,

2 Stephen Griffith, Ruth Bell Graham: Celebrating An Extraordinary Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 30.