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I Love Grandma's Way of Looking at Things

When we were young, we laughed 200 times a day. As adults, our average is four. Perhaps we need a new way of looking at things.

The experts tell us that the average child laughs 200 times a day. I'm not sure who studies these things, but they could be right. Children find things funny.

… our reason for laughter: The glorious hope of heaven.

You hit your head on a cupboard door and this is hilarious to a four-year-old. A thick rubber band shot at daddy's newspaper and registering a loud THWAAACK! after Daddy has endured a tough day of highly intense meetings in which he has been defending some declining sales figures, is just about the funniest thing a four-year-old can imagine.

But those same experts tell us that adults laugh an average of four times a day. Where did we lose 196 laughs a day?

A few months ago I was speaking to a thousand people in a church in beautiful British Columbia. My topic was "The Last Laugh." Surrounded by colourful stained glass windows in a denomination known more for sobriety than smiles, I asked with a timid grin, "Do you think it's okay for us to laugh in here?" Smiles broke out in every pew.

As I began recounting some of the hilarious things my children had said over the years, the smiles turned to laughter. "We had three kids in three years," I told them. Someone asked me what that's like. I told him we're far more satisfied than the man who has three million dollars. How so?

Well, the guy with three million wants more.

It took a second or two for some to catch on, but once they did, they laughed quite heartily. I went on to say that our children aren't always learning what we think they're learning in Sunday school. As proof, I submitted the following statements from Sunday school students. Actual quotes that have made teachers laugh and parents cry:

• "The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple."
• "Solomon had 200 wives and 700 porcupines."
• "People who followed Jesus were called the 12 opossums."
• "The Golden rule says to do one to others before they do one to you."
• "A Christian can have only one wife. This is called monotony."
• "Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night."

As I finished the last line, one dear lady struggled to her feet and shuffled through the back doors, giving an usher an earful on the way. "There's no place for that kind of thing in church," she told him. "You tell Mr. Callaway that."

What this dear lady missed was joining 999 others in celebrating our reason for laughter: The glorious hope of heaven. And the joy Christ can give His children on earth.

One middle-aged man shook my hand afterward and said, "Phil, I lost my father two weeks ago. This is the first time I have laughed since. Thanks so much."

The preacher Billy Sunday once said, "If you have no joy, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere." I, too, believe in a holy and awesome God, the maker of heaven and earth, but I also believe in a God who created the wiener dog and the duck-billed platypus.

I talked to my author friend Lee Strobel recently. He is the author of several excellent books including The Case For Christ. With a law degree from Yale, Lee began a successful career as a journalist at the Chicago Tribune. Despite the success, Lee's life was joyless, and soon his world began to unravel.

Central to his selfish pursuits had always been the belief that there was no God. One day Lee's wife came home from church and announced that she had placed her trust in Jesus Christ. Dumb-founded he decided to combine his legal training and journalistic savvy to systematically pick apart Christianity.

Two years later this skeptic arrived at the foot of the cross. "I am so bowled over by the fact that God would forgive someone who led such a disgusting and immoral life for so many years. There is a daily sense of wonder that God has not only adopted me as a son, but given me a ministry reaching out to people like I once was. The joy of it all overwhelms me," he told me.

I know of no better reason in all the world to celebrate than this: We didn't get what we deserved. We got something far better—it's called God's grace.

Two eight-year-olds were talking after school one day. "Wouldn't you hate to wear glasses all the time?" said the one. "Nope," said the other. "Not if I had the kind grandma wears. She sees lots of cool things to do on rainy days, and she sees when folks are tired and sad, and what will make them feel better, and she always senses what you meant to do even in you haven't gotten things right just yet. She says it's the way she learned to look at things when she got older. So it must be her glasses."

I love grandma's way of looking at things, don't you?

Could you use a good laugh today? You may not be able to muster up 200 of them, but you never know, so go ahead, try on grandma's glasses.

Phil Callaway is the editor of Servant magazine, author of a dozen books and a popular speaker. His web site is:

Originally published in Living Light News, January/February 2006.




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