Psalms 126:1 “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.”

Psalms 126:2 “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”

When you go from captivity to freedom you can begin to dream again. Hope returns, excitement bubbles up within and you can’t help but to laugh, smile and sing! During this pandemic we can see that statement rings true, “The Lord hath done great things for them.” I have seen God do some great things for other individuals. In particular my younger brother Chris was a student at a secular college in the Washington DC area in the early 2000s. At the time he was not living for the Lord and to make a long story short, he made some life altering decisions so he could get right with God. Shortly after his Junior year in college he decided to quit the football team where he was the starting quarterback, resign from his fraternity and withdraw from the university as a student. He would spend the fall attending church at home and then prepare for Bible college beginning with the Spring semester. While he was attending our church where I served as the pastor, a home school mother whose family was visiting our church approached my brother. She was intrigued that a young Deaf man (21 at the time) would drive an hour and a half one way to go to church three times a week. She obviously had grandiose ideas for her eligible 19-year-old daughter! My brother asked me to interpret the conversation between him and this mother and I gladly did so. She asked while I interpreted into American Sign Language (ASL) “So how do you get to church every week?” To which my brother replied in ASL (and I interpreted into spoken English), “It’s easy, I drive.” The mother of this young lady didn’t stop to think and quickly responded, “So, you have a driver’s license?” My brother was getting a little perturbed by the ignorant line of questioning and I as the pastor, older brother and interpreter could barely contain myself. Chris replied, “Yes I have a driver’s license.” Her follow up question elicited a “are you serious” from my brother to me, all the while I tried not to lose my composure. She posed, “So what do you do when you come to a stop sign?” After I replied to my brother’s question confirming that she really had asked that dumb question, he quickly and profoundly replied, “I stop!”

We often talk about the dumb things we as individuals say and do that looking back give us much laughter. Years later my brother has graduated Bible college, become ordained as a Baptist preacher, gotten married and is rearing four beautiful children for the Lord while he serves as a Deaf pastor in New Jersey. I can say unequivocally that God has done great things for him!

Psalms 126:3 says, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” If there is one thing this pandemic has reminded us is that, YES GOD CAN FURNISH A TABLE IN THE WILDERNESS! If God can provide water from a rock, manna from heaven, quail from the sky then God can provide for you and I! We must learn to laugh again because the Bible says it’s like medicine. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Research proves the Bible to be correct AGAIN. Forbes.com had an article on June 5, 2017 titled, “Six Science Based Reasons Why Laughter Is The Best Medicine” written by David DiSalvo. In that article here is what he says in summary.

1) Laughter Is A Potent Endorphin Releaser

In other the words the good feeling that narcotics give drug users is the same type of feeling that laughter gives without the negative drawbacks.

2) Laughter Contagiously Forms Social Bonds

Laughing in a group promotes a sense of unity and togetherness. The author states that’s why people often laugh when in a group when they don’t know why they are laughing. They see others laugh and they laugh along so they aren’t left out. Plus, when a group of people are laughing AND THEY KNOW WHY THEY ARE LAUGHING, it brings the group closer together.

3) Laughter Fosters Brain Connectivity

The brain deciphers what type of laughter is going on. It’s figuring out, is this a joyous type of laughter, is this  a taunting type of laughter, is this a laughter associated when one is tickled? So, the act of laughing is helping the brain to work harder.

4) Laughter Is Central To Relationships

The author states that women laughed about 126% more than their male counterparts but that men seem to instigate laughter. He goes on to state that women rate a sense of humor as one of the top three traits when looking for a husband. On the other hand, men rate women higher on their list if they laugh a lot at their jokes. That explains it…I knew there had to be a reason why I expect my wife to laugh at every one of my jokes! This same article says that couples who laugh a lot, have stronger relationships.

5) Laughter Has An Effect Similar To Antidepressants

In the process of laughing the body releases Serotonin. Laughter can help battle depression!

6) Laughter Protects Your Heart

Research shows that laughter has an anti-inflammatory effect that protects blood vessels and heart muscles from damaging effects of cardiovascular disease.

We need to learn to laugh during life. It’s not always going to be easy. In fact, life can be very hard. We have to laugh at our situation and laugh at ourselves. People often ask me when they find out I was the only Hearing person born into an all Deaf family, “Was it difficult growing up with everyone deaf?” To which I always reply, “On the contrary, it was great going up in a Deaf family. I could turn up my music as loud as I wanted to!”

My sister Jennifer, who I think may very well be the first Deaf female Architect in America, if she isn’t then I know for sure she is the first Deaf female Architect from Kentucky (you can tell I’m proud as a big brother) tells this story when she was in college. One day she went to get a bite to eat at a local McDonalds. She gestured to the cashier, (a young teenager) that she couldn’t hear and that she wanted to get a #2 combo with a large drink and large fries. The cashier looked like a “deer in headlights”. He apparently had never seen a Deaf person before. At this point my sister is put out and begins waving her hands in front of this guy’s face. He snaps out of it and runs to get his manager. The manager returns and my sister repeats the gesture for a #2 combo meal with a large drink and fries. The manager to his credit attempts to gesture to her, “hold on”. He runs back to the office and a few minutes later arrives to the counter and hands my sister a printed McDonald’s menu all in BRAILLE! Sometimes you’ve got to learn to laugh at your situation and even yourself. Regardless of where you are in life today, God has done great things for you!

Pastor Jeff Harris

Anchor Baptist Church | Hilton, NY