Think back to a time when you laughed so hard you could not stop the tears from running down your face or could not speak because the laughter just could not stop. Isn’t it interesting that these times of laughter are so ingrained in our memories that we can remember some instances from decades ago? Laughter has been shown to do all kinds of good in our hearts, minds, and bodies. Knowing that, we can all embrace the need for more laughter in our lives.
We love laughter so much at Arabella that it is mentioned in the verse that defines our mission: “She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). She laughs without fear of the future. Do you? It seems a bit steep to imagine doing so. With world unrest, crazy national politics, ever-present economic issues, the hope but uncertainty that our children will actually survive to adulthood (and be decent people too), and the myriad other worries we women continually spin in our minds, it is sometimes difficult to imagine not only the absence of fear but in its place the presence of laughter, joy, and peace. Is this verse just some unattainable idea that we can never grasp? Not if we believe the Bible is relevant for today.
The verses before Proverbs 31:25 give some context as to how this particular woman could possibly be able to “laugh without fear of the future.” She has done everything she can to prepare for what may be needed for future success: she respects her partner, works tirelessly to provide for her family, makes wise business decisions to boost the family bottom line, and cares for the poor. She has done everything she can do to prepare for whatever the future may hold, and knows that after that she must leave the control in God’s hands.
Um, what? She must leave the control in God’s hands. The thought of it feels scary, but why? But then, we are talking about God - who holds the stars, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and who knows everything that will ever happen. He has set this amazing, beautiful, complex world in motion. If He can design the intricate details of a honeybee’s comb or a beaver’s dam, He can absolutely hold us in His hands and direct our paths. And this is one reason the Proverbs 31 woman could laugh at the days to come.
What about us? Do we believe He has us, that He hears us, and that He has great plans for us? Do we allow Him to be in control? Consider these verses:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38).
True joy that brings laughter is attainable when we trust God. Trusting is possible when we know just how big our God is and that He loves us and “works everything together for good for those who love him” (Romans 8:28). We can laugh without fear of the future when we do not let the things around us determine our attitude, mood, or thoughts of the future. Different from living in denial, it is doing what we can to prepare for the future but then recognizing that worrying about it does not change anything, so we may as well do our best to enjoy the little things around us.
It takes a lifetime to grow in trusting God, but how can you cultivate laughter today? There are plenty of funny things you can watch on the internet (funny game show answers, practical jokes, dogs vs. cats, and many more). Children are hilarious. Spend a few minutes with a three-year-old, and they are sure to do or say something that makes you laugh. Meet some friends for chips and salsa or watch your favorite comedy. Be intentional, and make the time. No guilt and no shame – just laughter. It is, after all, at least as important for your health as eating well and exercising!
Heather Schmidt and Jodie Schmidt.