Laughter is a result of living in the midst of God’s great works (“when God returned Israel’s exiles we laughed, we sang” Ps 126:1). Enjoyment is not an escape from boredom but a plunge by faith into God’s work (“those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing” Ps 126:6). There is plenty of suffering on both sides, past and future. The joy comes because God knows how to wipe away tears, and, in his resurrection work, create the smile of new life. Joy is what God gives, not what we work up. Laughter is the delight that things are working together good to those who love God, not the giggles that betray the nervousness of a precarious defense system. The joy that develops in the Christian way of discipleship is an overflow of spirits that comes from feeling good not about yourself but about God. We find that his ways are dependable, his promises sure.

–Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society.

Advertisements