“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
—Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
A bit of background information for my friends in the South: Wisconsin winters are brutal. Still, we hardy Northerners know how to have fun. We bundle up in layers like the little kid in Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story,” and we play in the ice and snow.
Big, burly men (and not as often
big, burly women) brave the elements to ice fish. This means driving their SUVs onto hard-frozen lakes, drilling holes in six-plus inches of ice, and sitting there for hours in the freezing cold. They dangle fishing lines through the holes hoping that a few fish will come along and grab the bait. Then, with frostbitten toes and icicles hanging from their noses, these sportsmen (and women) head home content and looking forward to eating fish for supper.
Yep, we Northerners sure know how to have fun.
This winter is different. Mild weather has kept the big inland lakes from freezing solid, disappointing ice-fisher-persons except for a few die-hards who vow to find ice-covered water somewhere.
Enter two new guys in town, Mitch and Marty. On his way to work one day, Marty spies a small, secluded pond frozen over. He tells his pal Mitch about it, and on Saturday the two head out in the pre-dawn hours to ice fish. They drive their SUV to the middle of the pond, drill a couple of holes, and sit down on their wood folding stools to fish.
After a while, in the dim light of dawn, a deep, booming voice resounds, “No fishing! Get off the ice!”
“Whoa,” says Mitch, unable to see anyone in the near darkness, “Whodaya, think that was?”
“It sounded like it came from up there,” says Marty pointing skyward.
The voice echoes again, “Get off the ice!” a little louder this time.
Marty says, “Hey, maybe it was God. Maybe we’re sitting on thin ice, and He’s trying to save us from falling through and drowning.”
Now, Mitch, who has been worried about a few hidden sins in his life, looks up and silently begs God for forgiveness, and then— the voice thunders: “This is the rink manager on the loudspeaker. Get off the skating rink! There are no fish in this pond.”
Man plans, and God laughs.
You’ve heard that proverb. Sometimes, God gifts us with a humorous twist to our plans. In the story of Mitch and Marty, God used a funny situation to make Mitch realize that he needed to ask for forgiveness and make some changes in his life.
Today, we live on a troubled planet. The media focuses on our problems. Still, a sense of humor comes from above reminding us to laugh. God created us to enjoy His gifts of fun and laughter. How then can He, who has given us such wholesome gifts, be without humor Himself?
In 1936, the Christian author Roy L. Smith wrote, “ Good humor is the reflection of God shining upon our world.”
How has God’s sense of humor shown on your world this week?
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