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From Tears to Shouts of Joy

So, what makes you laugh? You can tell a lot about a person by what makes them laugh. As the psalmist reflects on his experience of liberation from captivity by the gracious intervention of God he describes the response of those set free:

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:2

Why all the laughter? What’s up with these shouts of joy? Laughter and joy was the appropriate response to their sudden and unexpected liberation from captivity. They were humanly incapable of liberating themselves from captivity because of their sin. God took action—action they did not deserve—to set them free. It was sudden, unexpected, dramatic and wonderful.

It was “like a dream” (Ps 126:1).

There is a sense in which every Christian can relate to this experience, having been captive to sin and delivered from sin by the grace of God through the Gospel of Christ crucified and risen from the dead. Every Christian. My fellow Christian, your deliverance from sin every bit as sudden, unexpected, dramatic and wonderful. And it was all the merciful action of God alone.

Our conversion should leave us laughing for joy. I’m talking humble and holy and grateful laughter because it was all so unexpected and we are so undeserving of grace and so richly deserving of God’s wrath because of our sin. If you haven’t laughed before God as a grateful response to the grace of God that has come to you through the gospel, then you have an opportunity to better understood how unexpected your salvation was and how unlikely you were as an object of mercy.

Charles Spurgeon exhorts us to remember our deliverance and just what went down when he writes:

“Let our hearts gratefully remember the former lovingkindness of the Lord. He did not merely life us out of despondency, he raised us into wondering happiness. The Lord who alone turns our captivity, does nothing by halves: those whom he saves from hell he brings to heaven. He turns exile into ecstasy, and banishment into bliss. None of us are so happy as those who are newly turned and returned from captivity.”

And Alec Motyer adds:

“So throughout this psalm laughter, singing and rejoicing often are the evidence of a salvation to which the recipients have contributed nothing but subsequent joy. We took no part in it. It was done for us-we woke up to find out it was true.”

We contribute nothing. It was done for us. We wake up to find out it is all true and not a dream. A Christian has the best reason to laugh.

This post is adapted from a sermon I preached at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville entitled, “From Tears to Shouts of Joy.”