Laughter: An Analogy of Faith

Faith, like laughter, must be a response to something

How do you describe faith? Etymologically, we know that “faith” is “trust, confidence, or assurance,” but is there an easy way to understand how faith works? I think we can by comparing faith to laughter. Laughter does not happen independent of something that prompts it. Something happens that is funny, and we laugh in response. Like laughter, faith is a response to something else. When we laugh, we laugh at something. When we have faith, we have faith in something. In order for us to have faith, we must have an object of that faith. For example, I can have faith in what the Bible says only because it says something first.

What happens if we try to generate laughter on our own without something funny happening first? It doesn’t really work. As I am writing this article in my office, I am focused and serious. However, I just took a break and laughed. Actually, I just made laughing sounds, but it was not really laughter. My “ha” “ha” “ha,” sounded hollow and lacked the emphatic “feel” of genuine laughter.

Furthermore, my laughing did not make anything funny happen, and this is a very important point. There is no genuine laughter unless there is something to laugh at, and there is no genuine faith unless there is something to have faith in. Laughing does not make something funny happen, and neither does “faith” cause there to be something to have faith in. If God promises something, we can then have faith in it, but we cannot just “have faith” and then expect a promise to come.

I have met many people who condemn themselves for not having enough faith to make what they desire come to pass. They had been taught that if they “had enough faith,” that would bring to pass what they desired. That is true if there is a promise, that is, something to have faith in. But if there is no promise of God, trying to have faith to make something happen is like laughing to try to make something funny happen.

What do you do if you want something that God has not specifically promised? You pray (which means “ask”) for it. That is why the Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing. If, in response to your prayer, the Lord tells you that you can have what you are praying for, that is your promise. Then have faith in what was promised, and you shall receive it.

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