Isn’t it strange that for medicine to be good for you it must taste awful? Why couldn’t those who develop the medicines give them a good flavor? Do you remember the day when your mother would give you some concoction that tasted like karosene mixed with castor oil? Even if it didn’t cure anything it sure made you pretend you felt better to keep from having to take that medicine again. One of the most interesting meds that our parents gave was some horrible tasting stuff you took to wash out your mouth if you told a lie or said a curse word. I’m not certain the medicine did anything but it certainly did motivate one not to do anything that might cause you to have to take that stuff again.
In proverbs 15:13 Solomon said “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” In chapter 17:22 he said, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” It is difficult to have a cheerful face when you are sick or discouraged. But it is possible to feel joy on the inside, in the heart while the body is in a time of distress. For years doctors have been telling us that our attitude makes a ton of difference in how we handle sicknesses. Those with a cheerful heart tend to expect good things to happen. Even when the pain is severe.
Look at the other side of these verses which talk about the joyful or cheerful heart. “A broken spirit dries up the bones.” “But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” I suspect this is a graphic way of talking about depression. One who struggles with depression and dispair has trouble overcoming any kind of ailment. Compare this with some New Testament principles on dealing with problems in life. In the book of 2 Corinthians chapter one Paul talked about God as the God of all comfort, the father of mercies who comforts us in all our tribulations so we can comfort others when they are in trials. He discussed how he had been thrown into the den of lions and despaired of life itself but God had rescued him and delivered him from the mouth of the lion.
In the little book of Philippians Paul wrote from the Roman prison to talk more about joy and rejoicing than any other book. His plea was “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” I love the words of I Peter 1 when Peter talked about the suffering we go through as Christians. He talked about the salvation that is reserved in heaven for us and will be revealed in the last time. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, my be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
James declared, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into all kinds of temptation, knowing that the trying of your faith works perseverance.” Think about all of these for a moment. It isn’t the circumstances of life that determines whether or not we have joy. We can have joy in the middle of the worst circumstances. When we have that joy filled heart it changes the background and the shades of life for us.
Those who constantly wait for everything to line up right in their life so they can have that joy filled heart, wait in vain. Joy is something we determine to have and then watch it affect everything else in life. What a difference it makes in our home life if the attitude that prevails in the family is one of joy, laughter and rejoicing no matter what may be happening around us! When such an attitude prevails kids want to come home and bring their friends to visit as well. When going home seems like a constant visit at the funeral home it is no wonder that the kids want to visit the friends home instead of bringing them into their own.
A joyful heart is some of the greatest medicine of all time. It has no nasty after taste. It has no horrible side affects and no one is allergic to it. There is no danger of taking too much of it or of it not mixing well with some other meds we are on. Order a huge supply and take it by the handfuls. Your insurance won’t cover it but it comes free of charge anyway. The generic brand is just as good as the name brand. Finally, it is good for whatever ails you. Take it and have a big belly laugh. You will begin to feel better immediately.