Does God Have A Sense of Humor?
by Jeff Montgomery
See if this sounds familiar. Let's say that you had something that you really wanted to have happen, perhaps get a new job. You apply, go to interviews, and pray like crazy that this will happen. In fact, if the interviews go well and it feels right, you might be thinking that this new job is surely the next step on your personal path with God.
Only it doesn't happen. For reasons you may never know, the company chooses someone else. On top of that, you're current boss gives you even more work to do! At times like this you may wonder aloud to friends and family if God does indeed have a sense of humor. Is he playing some kind of trick on you?
I've been through this a number of times (I'm a slow learner). For awhile, I was sure - absolutely positive - that I was supposed to live in a particular city. I applied for jobs, went for interviews, and spent too much time pining away for this particular place (I had lived there once before for several years). In spite of the fact that the company I worked for was transferring me all over the U.S., I was sure that God agreed with me that this city was where I needed to be. As you can guess, it never happened - and now I'm thankful it never did. But at times I wondered if God was playing some kind of trick on me.
Does God get a laugh out of these situations? Does he say, "That person is expecting things this way, but I'll toss them something else and watch 'em squirm?" I think that when we ask that question, we are really thinking about how a human being, rather than a divine being, would respond. Asking if God has a sense of humor implies that God reacts in a human way to our surprise in finding ourselves in unknown circumstances.
If we think about it, God really doesn't work that way. Keeping in mind that He gave up His only son for OUR sake, it doesn't seem to fit that he would get some kind of amusement from watching us deal with unanticipated circumstances. That immense, incomprehensible kind of love transcends any sort of human reaction. God obviously knows happiness (He is the source of all happiness!), and rejoices with us in our times of happiness, He doesn't get his jollies from making us uncomfortable.
It might be more appropriate to say that our God is a God of surprises. We are often so sure of how God is going to respond to us that we are surprised when he does something different. But we must remember who the master of the plan is. God knows our lives better than we do. He knew our lives long before we were even born. And in spite of our own lofty thoughts, God knows what's best for us.
Sometimes that goes contrary to what we think is best for us. My family and I experienced this about 3 ½ years ago when we found out I was being transferred to Oklahoma. Talk about surprises! Oklahoma would not have been at the top of our list of places that we would have wanted to be transferred. In fact, it wouldn't have even been on the list. I pulled out all the stops to find work elsewhere, but nothing turned up, so we moved. And it has turned out to be the best move we ever made.
We could have thought that God was exercising His sense of humor, but ultimately He was surprising us with what has turned out to be the best move for our family. I think that is the ultimate truth of anything God does. Whatever circumstances He places us in, He is doing it to bring us closer to Him, and to shape us into the people He needs for us to be.
Now the flip side of all this serious talk is that, I believe, God loves humor. He loves laughing. He loves joy. I believe He loves to see us rejoicing and laughing and dancing! He laughs, and dances, right along with us because He is the author of that joy and loves to see us revel in it!
Remember, the Bible tells us that we are created in His image. It makes sense, then, that God Himself would also have laughter, and mirth, and fun as a part of His personality. He has given us the gift of a sense of humor (except possibly my 11th grade history teacher) and expects us to use it!
I was fortunate enough to meet, several months ago, a Franciscan brother who was a living example of this. He was constantly smiling, and joked with all who he met. He was a true embodiment of God's joy! And that is where God's humor enters our lives.
God has plans for us, and those plans are not always what we expect. But God doesn't derive any joy out of surprising us with things and making us uncomfortable. Instead He looks forward to the moment when we realize His greatness, and the level at which He loves us, so He can rejoice and laugh with us as we celebrate His goodness!
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