If you asked someone to describe a Christian in one word, might his or her response be “dull” or “boring”? It would be a shame for others to think that Christians aren’t enjoying God’s amazing world. So the question to ask ourselves is: Are we taking time to have fun? Did Jesus? I believe He did, as part of His experience of being human.
Recently my sister, Sue, and I took a trip to Israel and we found ourselves having a blast trying to “swim” in the Dead Sea with a group of first-timers. Sue went in first.
“Darlene, look at me. I’m floating!” My sister waved as I snapped a picture of her in the Dead Sea. “Whee!” She giggled and then tried to turn on her stomach. “Whoa!” She gurgled as she tipped, twisted and then figured it out.
The two things you don’t want to do in the Dead Sea are to get a mouth full of the salty mineral water (yuck) or get it in your eyes (ouch). But there is a method for floating that avoids these unpleasant experiences, with the trick being to keep your head up, and to trust in the water’s lifting power.
It was my turn next. I waded in as far as the others, sat down and lifted my legs. Yikes! My body bobbled downward into the salt water, and I reached my arms out to balance. But then I was fine, and I realized I just needed to relax and let the water take over.
I giggled and yelled, “I’m floating too!” Sue took a picture of me and then joined our group as we played in the Dead Sea. It was wonderful, and we felt like children again, without a care in the world. It was a special and joyful feeling.
Another type of fun we discovered was floating straight up in the deeper water. When you were out over your head, you could point your feet down and bounce, with the water rising only to your waist. Amazing!
One of the men in our group, Jack (we affectionately referred to him as Papa Smurf after this experience!), couldn’t get the hang of this. He seemed to be trying too hard. When he tried to bounce, he tipped from side to side, his arms waving in the air as he struggled to get balanced. Sue grabbed one leg, and I the other.
“Jack, just relax and point your feet down. Let the water do the rest,” Sue said.
We let go. He tried again, his arms flailing and splashing in the water. Sue and I laughed ourselves silly. Jack just didn’t get it.
It made us think about Jesus as a child (and maybe even as an adult), and how He could have enjoyed playing in the Dead Sea. I can picture his mother waiting patiently on the shore for her son to get out of the water.
With her hands on her hips, she could have said, “Come on, Jesus, you’ve floated enough for one day. Time to get going.”
“But, Mom, it’s so much fun. Can’t I enjoy this a little longer? It’s one of God’s gifts.”
“Jesus, am I going to have to come in and get you?”
“Maybe you should, Mom. Look at me bounce,” he might have said. “Whee!”
In the same way that my sister and I relaxed and let the salt water carry us, Christians need to unwind, lighten up, and laugh out loud – to break the stereotype of not enjoying life. We need to revel in the good things the Lord provides, and to trust the water to keep us floating.
So, split a gut laughing. I promise. It won’t hurt.
(This article was originally (some modifications made for this blog) published in Christian Life in London newspaper, www.ChristianLifeInLondon.com.)
Psalm 126:2 (NIV)
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”