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Laughter—a proven stress reliever. Have you ever heard the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine”? This axiom has biblical roots.

A merry heart does good, like medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

Laughter is also evidence of joy. In the book of Genesis you will find the story of Sarah, who gave birth to a son when she was 90 years old. What was her response to this miraculous event?

And Sarah said, ‘God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.’

Genesis 21:6

I recently enjoyed my own experience with God not only giving me joy but also showing me His sense of humor. It happened at the Southern Christian Writers Conference, a two-day event I attended in early June.

Aside from the inspiring and relevant workshops available, I was also grateful for a continuously open coffee bar. I’m a big fan of coffee, especially when I need to stay alert. When day one ended at around 8 PM, I was still alert and already feeling creatively rejuvenated.

The next morning I drove to the conference with a sense of anticipation. Spring semester of this past school year (I’m a high school English teacher) had left me mentally exhausted, and I welcomed the energy that came with feeling inspired again.

Arriving 15 minutes before the first session was scheduled to begin, I had just enough time to eat some fruit, also provided onsite, and drink a cup of coffee. I put a banana and some strawberries on a paper plate then stopped at the coffee bar, where I poured myself a cup, added French vanilla creamer, and snapped on a lid.

I carried my snack to a table where a couple I’d met the day before were seated. Checking the day’s schedule was my first priority, and I ate the banana while I did so. I then took a sip from my cup, and to my surprise, coffee poured onto my plate of strawberries and my lap. Obviously I had not snapped the lid firmly in place.

The kind couple grabbed napkins and helped me clean up the mess on the table. I then power walked to the restroom to assess the damage to my capris. My white capris.

One look in the mirror told me there was little I could do about the situation. On the front of each thigh was a plate-sized brown stain. A woman handed me some paper towels, but my efforts to wash away one of the coffee stains with soap and water only made my leg wetter.

When the woman asked if I’d been burned, I was immediately thankful I could tell her “No.” A trip to the ER would have definitely ruined my day.

A final look in the mirror compelled me to make an important decision. I resolved to not look down the rest of the day and to pretend nothing was wrong. Once the coffee dried, I almost forgot about the ugly, embarrassing stains. I enjoyed the sessions I attended and appreciated the positive energy exuding from the attendees.

The last event of the conference was the distribution of door prizes. As names were drawn and gift bags holding terrific products were doled out, I began whining inside my head. I never win anything, Lord. I know my name is not going to be called. I should just leave now.

 Immediately I was convicted. I confessed my spoiled brat attitude and thanked God for the many blessings in my life, including the ability to attend this conference. I then silently prayed, Lord, if there’s a prize you want me to have, that’s great. If not, let me be happy for those who do win.

About two seconds after I finished my brief prayer, my name was called. Shocked, I walked down front and retrieved my prize. When I looked at the contents of the gift bag, I busted out laughing. Inside was a variety of coffee related products, including a mug that says “Voted most likely to need coffee.”

In that moment I felt the love and nearness of my Creator. It was not a coincidence for me to win the only coffee themed door prize. My God, who had witnessed my coffee catastrophe, chose that prize to make me laugh with joy.

I like what David says in Psalm 16:11:

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.