Does God laugh? There’s an old portrait of Jesus, head thrown back, laughing so wide you can see His molars. Although dated (you knew it was Jesus because of the pale skin, longish hair and white robe; if His eyes weren’t squinched shut they would have been blue), it was compelling to me not for any artistic merit but for causing me to question whether or not Jesus ever laughed that hard.
Scripture doesn’t explicitly mention Jesus laughing. Yet I have to believe He did. God is the originator of joy, and Jesus – His express image (Heb. 1:3) – experienced every human emotion we do. I picture the disciples sitting around under a tree taking a breather. There was probably some good-natured sarcasm, some elbowing of ribs, the occasional belch. Jesus would have been right in the thick of all this.
So if Jesus laughs, God laughs too because they’re the same Being. The Old Testament actually makes mention of God laughing. Now, what I want you to do is picture the last Disney movie you saw. Picture the villain at the exact moment he’s about to take out the hapless hero. What is he doing? What all good villains do… gleefully rubbing his hands together and emitting a menacing Ha! Ha! HAA!
That’s the kind of laughing God does. God is not a villain, but He laughs like one.
For reasons God hasn’t explained, He only shows us this kind of laugh in the Bible. Every time He laughs, it’s a laugh of doom at His enemies, as in Ps. 37:13:“The Lord laughs at (the wicked), for He sees that his day is coming”.
God laughs at His enemies because He can. Sitting in on a college classroom discussion of this topic, I heard one student liken it to the movie Night at the Museum, where the main character, played by Ben Stiller, was threatened by two angry men who happened to be the size of grasshoppers. They didn’t seem to realize this, though, and fully expected Ben to be terrified of them, which made the scene even funnier. I imagine this is how it is for God. He looks down at some puny nation shaking its collective fist at Him and He pretty much rolls His eyes.
God’s laughter is warfare.
Through His laughter He shows His sovereignty over all of creation, the light as well as the dark. There is nothing beyond His reach. Only someone confident in His abilities can laugh at His opponent. Only someone who’s sure of the outcome of the battle can laugh.
I believe we can appropriate this warfare-laughter. When we’re hidden under the shadow of God’s wings, we can defiantly laugh at our Enemy right along with God. Our laugher, joined with God’s, is like a symbolic shaking of the fist toward the kingdom of darkness. But when we’re unprotected – when we’ve taken off our armor or removed ourselves from God’s presence – it would be dangerous indeed to laugh. We’re safe to laugh at our Enemy when we’re laughing with God.
Warfare-laughter doesn’t come at the start of a battle; it comes at the moment the tide turns and the good guys are clearly going to win. There will come a day when all those in Christ will have the last laugh, as they say. We will laugh a laugh of doom toward our Enemy, and then – I am confident of this – the sound of our laughter will shift because we will throw our heads back and laugh so wide you can see our molars, and it will be a laugh of pure joy because we’ll be in God’s presence. And He’ll laugh too.
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dogwatcher/4090588510/”>dogwatcher</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>Visualhunt.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>