Last week I happened on to an old America's Funniest Home Videos. For the better part of an hour, I chuckled and guffawed — and winced. Have you noticed how a majority of the videos capture a painful moment?

This particular episode featured a clip with a common theme:

Man starts chain saw.
Man saws into large tree.
Large tree begins to fall.
Man runs.
Camera operator screams.
Large tree falls on truck.
Truck disintegrates as we watch.
Camera operator begins to laugh.
Dust settles.
Man with chain saw runs towards camera operator.
Audience laughs.

You've seen it, haven't you?

With that picture in my mind, I listened with great interest to a recent radio report about a man who took a chain saw to a large tree.

Large tree falls into second tree.
Man begins to cut down second tree.
Second tree suddenly splits.
Large branch strikes man in head.
Man dead at the scene.
No one laughs.

Two very similar incidents. Only the endings are significantly different.

It's been said that the only distinction between comedy and tragedy is the ending.

As I've watched some good people deal with life's circumstances, I've been surprised at how often they face devastating situations with a momentary wince and then a knowing smile.

They choose to move the ending.
"Don't you understand what just happened to you?" I want to ask. I would like to point out, "This isn't comedy — it's tragedy! How can you take all of this with so much calm — and pleasantness?!"

Sitting at the funeral of a truly godly woman today, I found the answer to those questions I've never dared to ask. While it's true that the ending is the deciding factor, great champions of life have a secret weapon that keeps them smiling. They choose to move the ending. The promise that there is something more out there gives them hope. The refusal to accept the immediate, apparent result as the "ending" takes away the sting of the moment. And these remarkable people have one more thing going for them that makes their postponement of endings a viable technique. They all know what the eventual ending will look like.

We call these individuals "men and women of faith." They are members of a divine comedy troupe.

Think I'll sign up. It strikes me that God likes people who laugh.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)