Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
It was not until laugher became the focal point of many religious services and the subject of much debate that I began to consider it from God’s perspective. Certainly, laughter is a gift. Each person’s laugh is unique. God has made us to bubble over in a strange combination of squeals, snorts and cackles when our pleasure cannot be contained. We enjoy a good joke, the unexpected twist in a story line, or the characterization of our human idiosyncrasies. It feels good to laugh. Yet, as with all pleasures and gifts, there is the potential for misuse. Think of those whose sinister laughter flows from darkened hearts. Comedy clubs and shows are full of patrons escaping the sorrows of empty lives while the comedians cross lines of decency and wallow in the gutters of depravity. Even those who call themselves Christians can turn frivolous with a spirit of levity, totally out of touch with the Father’s heart, becoming lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. There is a time for everything and the whole of our lives must be under the control of God’s Spirit.
Still, it is certainly true that our Creator laughs (Psalm 2:4; 37:13). Surely it must be a holy laugh that resonates throughout the cosmos, reverberating in each corner of the universe and finally echoing in the hearts of his children. Have you ever wondered what God’s laugh sounds like? It is nothing like the small laugh of foolish triviality or the hollow chuckle of amused simpletons. It is not the empty laughter of pleasure-seekers. No, God’s laugh is free of fear, sarcasm and smallness. It is a huge and robust, hearty and full. Imagine the sound, the thunder, the joy. How contagious it is, ringing with rightness and truth; the thrilling certainty of all He is and all He has said; the brilliance of His ways and the glory of His triumph over His enemies; the complete victory and vindication of His people; the utter delight of His glory.
God intends for His joy to spill over into our hearts and for our laughter to be the echo of his own gladness. Of course, there is a time when weeping endures for the night and when sorrow quiets our souls (Psalm 30:5). There is a time to weep (Eccles.3:4). All this is part of his design, for God’s school of life always leads through suffering, and suffering eventually hollows out a greater capacity for joy. So, when God’s people laugh, it is not just for emotional release or carnival antics. No, this laugh is the full expression and confidence of our faith. It is a deep contentment and satisfaction in our God. It is the ability to laugh “at destruction and famine” (Job 5:22 ), confident that all God’s promises are true. It is a laugh of sheer joy at God’s gift of righteousness, understanding that I, a sinner, am fully accepted and loved because of Christ. It is a laugh at the absurdity of the enemy’s lies. It is the laugh of triumph (Ps.37:13). It is the laugh of gleeful surprise at God’s turning of events; how in sovereign power He controls the affairs of this world and his purposes will not be thwarted.
Yes, of all people, the saints of God should have the purest and most honest laugh. Never the focal point, but always a response to the deep, abiding joy God has given us. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!
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