You’ve probably heard statistics that laughter releases the same endorphins released when the body is healing itself. It’s true. Sorrows run deep at times, but so does joy and laughter. Sometimes laughing turns into crying, and sometimes crying turns into laughter. The Bible encourages us to be joyful.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; let those also who love your name be joyful in you. (Psalm 5:11)
Make me hear joy and gladness. (Psalm 51:8)
It is healing to hear laughter and the joyful sounds of loved ones. So many times, in our family, when painful emotions are ready to burst, one of us will deliberately say something funny, causing us all to belly laugh rather than sob. Our deep human emotions seem to come from the same place and manifest in tears or laughter. Being able to find humor and laughter during deeply stressful times is truly a gift that bonds, heals, and creates memories for a lifetime.
Making Peace with the Process
My family and I sure would have loved it if God had just done one giant miracle to remove cancer from me and leukemia from Lion as soon as we were diagnosed. Instead, He saw us through by providing big and small miracles by the moment that added up to our giant miracles of victory. Glory to God!
The world we live in is one of immediate gratification and quick resolutions, which lead to short attention spans and a lack of endurance. Jam-packed schedules are daily realities for most of us, including me. Getting my head around the procedures and commitments that accompanied a cancer diagnosis was an entire issue in and of itself. Coming to terms with these protracted disruptions to my life, health, schedule, and foreseeable future created stress, frustration, and irritation. In some ways, this became even more challenging over time.
In the beginning, I mustered up everything within me to rise to the challenges, but as time went on, I grew weary and frustrated. I just wanted my life to be normal again. I had to dig deep and come to terms with what I call “the long run.”
At a chemo appointment, I saw a brochure titled “Making Peace with Cancer.” My gut reaction was anger. I didn’t ever want to make peace with cancer or stop warring against it. But in time I realized this brochure was not referring to making peace with cancer itself but with everything that came along with it. It was encouraging me to find peace in the midst of it all.
In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul tells of struggling with a tormenting thorn in his flesh. Scripture does not reveal what the thorn was, but Paul pleaded with God three times to take it away. The Lord did not remove it, but He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9, MEV. I have taught often about this scripture and how the Lord has met me at various points of my needs through the years.
The Lord’s response to Paul’s prayer has many layers of interpretation and application. I’ve heard it taught that God’s unwillingness to remove the thorn was a rebuke, implying that Paul was asking for too much and needed to just “deal with it and get over it.” But I don’t believe God was telling Paul that he was asking too much from Him. Rather, I believe God was telling him that His grace was already more than enough to enable Paul to rise above, overcome, and conquer the tormenting challenge he faced. Paul just needed to recognize this and tap into it.
God’s Grace Is More Than Enough
I’ve always believed that no matter what we are facing, God’s grace, equipping, and empowering are more than enough to see us through. Sometimes the Lord delivered His people out of darkness and trouble. Sometimes He led them through the darkness and trouble. Think about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert away from the violent armies pursuing them. When they came to the Red Sea, they faced an insurmountable problem. The Lord could have saved them in innumerable, miraculous ways, including by drying up or removing the life-threatening sea. Instead of removing the sea, the Lord parted the waters and led them through the sea. You have God’s grace today to get through everything you are facing.