Adults forbade us to laugh inside the Catholic church when I was a kid. God supposedly hated laughter in church. Even in born again churches when I was in college we tried to suppress too much laughter. So I tried hard to dismiss funny images from my mind. When the preacher said something hilarious you made sure to laugh only as decent as you could.
What a waste of good medicine and facial expression that can repel depression when they forbid us to laugh like that. What a waste of wellness. God designed a happy heart to be “good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength,” [Proverb 17.22]. And laughter “makes a cheerful face” that fights off depression [Proverb 15.13].
So for a long time I thought God never laughed. I had some difficulty imagining heaven as a happy place without laughter. But how could he not laugh? I mean, the bible has lots of funny accounts to make mere mortals like you and I do so. How much more an intelligent God? Like Elijah taunting the rattled prophets of Baal about their sleepy or too busy gods, King Nebuchadnezzar jumping up in amazement (ever seen a king jump?) when he saw 4 men walking in the fiery furnace, or Jesus’ disciples worrying about bread when he had just fed 5,000 and 4,000 people with bread almost out of nothing.
Jesus also once told his disciples when they asked him a question on food that defiled people: “Are you so dull?” And I found it so humorous when the Pharisees and law teachers were so pissed off by Jesus when all the people were going to him despite their efforts to discredit him.
“See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” [John 12.19]
Ain’t that funny?
And if you’d look more closely, there are lots of funny incidents in King Saul’s life, especially how he tried getting rid of David several times but failed miserably doing so. There was a time when he was doggedly pursuing David up a mountain (Saul and his men were on one side of the mountain and David and his men on the other side) and almost catching him when suddenly he had to quit the pursuit because the Philistines raided his territory.
And conservatives in church were telling me I couldn’t laugh at these things. So what my friends and I did, while being Roman Catholics and also while being born again later, was to talk about these funny stories as far away as possible from church and laughed as much as we wanted there.
But later I discovered. God has sense of humor after all. He is witty. He laughed. And I can easily imagine he still does it, sometimes even in the middle of a worship service. No kidding. He can do anything. Nothing is impossible to him, after all. Specifically, he finds what wicked people plan and do ridiculous.
But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. [Psalm 37]
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. [Psalm 2.4]
God restores our fortunes or brings back captives to freedom to fill our mouths with laughter [Psalm 126]. I’ve seen people blessed by God cry. Some simply react naturally, like blessings were nothing special. Some smile. But I’ve never seen blessed people laugh, and I mean really laugh. Like when you are doing your quiet time with God and he blesses you with a revelation from His Word and you laugh so hard because you’re so blessed. I certainly would like to see that in church. Tradition taught us that Satan laughed diabolically. Yet that is nowhere in Scripture. In the bible, God laughed, not the devil. And I believe God is the Author of laughter.
Even sorrows. Did you know that God designed sorrows to make us laugh later?
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. [Luke 6.21]
So, have you ever laughed after sadness or sorrows? I think we have to, from now on. The devil fooled us into thinking that laughter was unspiritual. That only the carnal laughed a lot and spiritual people were always formal and serious. If ever they laughed, it was so suppressed and kept to decent levels. LOL is seen as impious, blasphemous or heretical. So in Jesus films, we also see Jesus portrayed thus—often sad, serious and formal. Even miserable. If he ever smiled it was almost undetected or wryly. We think being like that is spiritual so we don’t want to be seen laughing so much in public, especially not in church and not during worship.
You may say laughter in the bible is just figure of speech. Yeah? Then so should crying and weeping. Was it mere figure of speech when Jesus wept? If not, then why do you think it was just figure of speech when God laughed?
Admittedly, there is a time to laugh and a time to cry. You must laugh or cry accordingly, depending on the situation. The important thing is, you laugh when something’s funny. It’s wrong to think that laughter is wrong. And it’s okay to laugh even in spiritual moments with God. Remember, God designed laughter for health benefits, physical, emotional and mental. Don’t let anyone forfeit you of that.