Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
When you think back on your favorite memories of your kids, how many include laughter and joy? Maybe it was their first time eating spaghetti (followed by a much-needed bath) or their joy when they received their first pet! Or maybe they said something that caused everyone around to break down in laughter and tears to roll down your cheeks.
Kids love to laugh and they love to make others laugh. Kids love to spread joy! As adults, we get caught up in the stress of our day, but kids have a way of putting those stressors in perspective. Laughing seems to make life easier.
When those uncontrollable belly-laughs happen, the stresses of the world roll away and we often feel a sense of release. Perhaps that’s what Proverbs 17:22 refers to when it talks of laughter as a good medicine. Our sapped strength can be re-energized by a good dose of laughter.
As we read todays verse we see that it presents a dichotomy of emotions. On one side, a cheerful heart is good medicine, while the other side presents a crushed spirit that dries up the bones.
Let’s start with the happier side. A cheerful heart does not mean LOL, but it does mean “a glad heart.” In a word, it refers to happiness. This emotion becomes a healing element in our bodies. We may feel stronger. God, our Great Physician, uses joy to lower our blood pressure and fight stress.
The other side of the coin is a crushed spirit. It may reflect in the emotion of sadness or sorrow. It’s a depression that can’t be cured with trite words. This emotion dries up the bones. We feel withered and drained.
God’s Word gives numerous examples of how God rescues people from the pit of a crushed spirit. Job suffered tremendous loss. David cried out his heart to God. Even Jesus sweat drops of blood in anguish before His death.
Jesus said that He wants our joy to be complete. Share your emotions with Jesus today. Let Him lift your crushed spirit and fill you with joy.
Dear Lord, help us to no matter what we face not to let it crush us. Give us the joy that only You can give. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.