by Tom Goodman
June 20, 2012
When you're texting on a cell phone, one response to a friend's joke is "LOL" -- which means, "laughing out loud." (Any teenager will tell you that "ROFL" is also an option to let them know you're "rolling on the floor laughing.")
When was the last time you "laughed out loud" in wonder over God's goodness?
The Canadian musician, Carolyn Arends, recalled a conversation with her three-year-old about a Sunday School craft the child had brought home. Her daughter, Bethany, had cut out and colored pictures of children engaged in different acts of
worship, and glued them onto a sheet. As Arends pointed to each picture, she asked Bethany what the people were doing. "Praying! Giving! Reading the Bible!" the girl shouted as Arends pointed to the different activities of a worship
Then she pointed to a boy with his mouth open wide in song. "And what is he doing?" she asked, in a way that parents ask obvious questions of 3-year-olds. Arends expected her child to explain that the boy was singing, which was Arends' favorite
form of worship.
"Laughing!" explained Bethany.
Arends wrote, "I stood corrected. Laughing is my favorite form of worship."
Laughter isn't always an act of praise, of course. In Genesis 18, in the guise of a traveling stranger, God announced that the son he had promised Abraham 13 years earlier would finally be born before the next year. His wife, Sarah,
overheard this and laughed bitterly to herself. She had given up on God long ago, and her laughter was a sign of her cynicism.
But in Genesis 21, Sarah held her little boy in her arms and laughed again. This time, though, she laughed with God, not at him. She named her son "Isaac" and exclaimed, "God has brought me laughter!"
You see, Isaac is a Hebrew word that means... well... "LOL"!
We shouldn't laugh at God's promises in cynical despair, but be sure to laugh with God when he keeps his promises.
- Has God answered a prayer? LOL!
- Has he surprised you with blessing? LOL!
- Has he set you free from a destructive addiction? LOL!
- Has he come through for you when you were at your wits end? LOL!
- Has he rescued a marriage on the brink? LOL!
- Has he given you the hope of eternal joy? LOL!
Singing, praying, giving -- they're all good acts of worship. But don't forget that laughing in wonder is worship, too!
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