Living for Jesus Means Being Filled with Joy
“The One enthroned in heaven laughs.” -Psalm 2:4
Does God have a sense of humor? A lot of people have asked that question. We do know that God certainly created laughter and humor when he gave people personalities. We can certainly smile a bit when we read Bible stories that tell of a donkey speaking or a man who lived inside a fish.
Did you know that one man in Scripture was actually named “he who laughs” because of something his mother did? His name was Isaac. When his mother, Sarah, overheard that she was going to have a child in her old age, the Bible says, “Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?’” (Genesis 18:12). The Lord was disappointed to hear her laugh. When he asked her about it, she denied laughing. So when the baby was finally born, Sarah named him Isaac because, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (21:6).
There are several different kinds of laughter mentioned in the Bible. Like Sarah, some people laugh when they heard something so unbelievable. A good example of this kind of laughter happened when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus. After Jesus told the crowd the girl was not dead but only sleeping, the Bible says, “They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (Luke 8:53). Sometimes we might laugh in disbelief too when we don’t think that God can really help us.
A second kind of laughter in the Bible is the laughter of a fool. In Ecclesiastes 7 it says, “Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:6). A fool laughs without ever realizing he is doomed for destruction. Foolish laughter always tries to cover up a sad and lonely life of unbelief. Solomon wrote again, “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief” (Proverbs 14:13).
A third type of laughter we find in the Bible is God’s laughter. As God watches the actions of the foolish people in this world, he looks down from heaven and laughs. It says in the book of Psalms, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them” (Psalm 2:1-4). In another Psalm it says, “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming” (Psalm 37:12,13). Jesus died on the cross for everyone, yet there will always be those who refuse his love and grace. In perfect justice the Lord looks at these people as hopeless fools.
A fourth type of laughter is the laughter that is heard coming from God’s people. This comes from the joy that Christians share when they think about their salvation. Jesus promises his people that “blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21) and again the Bible says “there is a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Our laughter will be that of victory, of celebration, and of singing and rejoicing. This will be the same joyous laughter that the women felt when they left the empty tomb. The Bible says they were “filled with joy” (Matthew 28:8). And when the disciples saw Jesus after his resurrection it says, “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). And finally when they saw Jesus ascend into heaven it says, “They worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52).
Living for Jesus means we can be filled with joy because we have a reason to be joyful. We can all laugh with a cheerful heart knowing that Jesus loves us and has a wonderful future planned for us. So let’s not walk around with sad and gloomy faces. Rather we should be happy and rejoice because this is the day the Lord has made!
In Christ, Mike Allard, Principal @ St. John’s