The God Who Laughs

The other day I went into a toy store with two of my boys. No sooner had we walked through the front door than we were greeted by a laughing toy hamster. The battery-powered toy was rolling around in a display case laughing hysterically. I stood there and began to chuckle. Others gathered around. Faces lit up and laughter broke out.

Laughter is good medicine.

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts energy, lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, and relieves physical tension and stress. Laughing even helps reduce weight. One study has shown 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn 50 calories. (Who needs a treadmill?! Sit down and enjoy the latest episode of America’s Funniest Videos and watch those pounds disappear!)

People laugh for different reasons—some good, some not so good. Nerves. A funny joke. Shock and unbelief (winning the lottery). Relief (some danger averted). Being tickled. Mockery (making fun of someone). Wickedness and vengeance. The list could go on.

God laughs too, but for a reason entirely unique to himself.

In Psalm 2, we read that the nations conspire against God and the kings of the earth take their stand against his Anointed One. God’s response? “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them” (v. 4). God finds humor in those who think they can challenge him and disturb his plans. He finds all their vain plotting and scheming laughable.

God is supremely happy. He laughs long, hard, and often. Why? He is sovereign, ruling and reigning. He has no serious competitors. He is never frustrated. The psalmist declares, “I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths” (135:5-6). God always gets his way! Thus he is happy.

Paul echoes this truth twice in 1 Timothy where he refers to God as blessed (1:11; 6:15). The same word is used in the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-10 where we read, “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn…” It means “happy.” Like the psalmist above, Paul ties God’s happiness or blessedness to his sovereignty, “…the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).

God is in charge. He is seated on a throne and everything is going according to design. From the die that is cast to the reply of the tongue, from the direction of a bird of prey to the destiny of the nations of the earth, nothing is outside his jurisdiction (see Prov. 16:33, 1; Is. 46:11; 40:15). His authority is firmly established. America’s greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) boasted, “Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.”

So God is happy . . . and laughing.

Why does this matter?

In terms of the future, it is reassuring to know that God is happy. I wouldn’t want to spend eternity with someone who wasn’t happy, would you? As for today, knowing this truth enables you and I to feel secure, confident, and at peace; it gives us joy and gladness. There is no such thing as an accident. There are no coincidences; only providences.

So join with God in laughing. Everything that comes your way has an infinitely wise and loving God behind it who is up to something good!

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