OK, so we know that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:11-12). So we should not be surprised when something he wrote (or any other scripture, for that matter) is validated by secular science, as is the case with verse 22 of this chapter (“a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”).
As far back as I can remember, my mother was a subscriber to “Reader’s Digest,” and one of my favorite parts was a joke section called “Laughter the Best Medicine.” That saying was always accepted as a general home-spun truism by most people – one of those things that “everybody knows.” But according to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034), laughter not only relieves stress, it has positive effects on your physical health in many ways.
According to this staff article, laughter “…enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.” Other benefits include relieving one’s stress response, stimulating circulation and relaxing muscles, improving the immune system, relieving pain, and lessening depression and anxiety, I can vouch for those last two, as I have noticed the positive effects on my anxiety caused by even a single genuine laugh.
The trouble is, when we most need it the most, we often do not feel like laughing. But we should not just toss the thought aside. Next time these troubles threaten to engulf us, let’s try seeking out laughter in some way – whether it is a comedy on TV, a funny movie, a favorite companion, or even simple things like reading jokes somewhere. Give laughter a try – it’s Biblical!
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.