Welcome Friends! I need to laugh this week. I’ll bet you do too. The Babylon Bee always does it for me. (If you’re new to this rag, it’s brilliant Christian satire, about us, by us, which is good for all of us. We are so worthy of self-parody.)
(Wonder Women, please enjoy the post and at the bottom you’ll see what to do!)
Kirk Cameron’s face does NOT appear, however, in our local production of NEWSIES! The hit Broadway musical is on our main stage this week and next—-and my two youngest sons are in it. Pure joy. Pure laughter.
It takes faith to laugh sometimes. It takes courage. It takes daring. Because our screens, the news reports, the headlines and even the fine print beneath them shouts Fear. Insecurity. Instability. National politics unrelentingly sicken and sour us. Neighbors across fences keep lobbing tomatoes and stereotypes. Young people keep leaving the church and its God-and-Country politics. Americans seem to be in a permanent state of Outrage and depression. And Christians aren’t doing much better. Is the light we’re lifting the light of Christ or is it the sputtering flame of our own brand of politics? (Can we please lay down everything that isn’t of Christ?)
I want to fix our nation. I want God to fix the world. I want clear answers and immediate solutions.
But when those don’t come, we can laugh. We really can. We can laugh because God laughs.
Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
We can laugh and “shout to God with cries of joy.” And there’s a reason we can do this: ”For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.” (Ps. 47) Nothing and no one will alter His purposes and plans.
But if you cannot dare to laugh, then dare to lament. We need lament as much as we need laughter. Aubrey Sampson’s new book, just in my mailbox this week, reminds me of the importance of lament:
She writes, “What’s remarkable about Christianity is that we have a King who is also a steadfast, loving Husband and friend. He not only permits lament; he gives us the language of lament.”
In the Lament Psalms, and there are many of these, God invites us to question him. He invites us to cry out, “O God where are you? Why have you hidden yourself from me? Why do you sleep, O Lord? Why do you forget our affliction? How long, O Lord?”
What kind of God does this? What kind of God inspires writers to pour out their doubting hearts to Him?
A God who knows the end from the beginning. A God who says, even when we mourn, we are blessed, for our mourning will be turned to laughter. A God who knows that daring to doubt is better than pretending to believe.
Wherever you are—-waiting for the results of that biopsy; searching for your runaway daughter, planning funeral arrangements for your father, lamenting the state of our nation, praying for a dear friend who just had a stroke—— try lamenting with this powerful musical liturgy. As Sampson writes, lament “creates a pathway between the Already and Not Yet. . . . between current hopelessness and coming hope.”
And—-when you cannot lament any more, then remember God has not moved from his throne——and laugh! Not at evil, but Laugh at us, because we’re secure in Jesus——and because some of the time, we’re funny. (I’m definitely the “window washer” here.)
And sometimes we’re downright hilarious. (Thank you John Crist!)
Dear Friends, May we laugh or lament with you? What are you lamenting this week? What has made you laugh this week?
AND——I’m giving away 5 Wonder Years books this week in honor of International Women’s Day. Leave a comment below with your EMAIL address, and I’ll do a drawing. I hope you win one!!