God in Heaven Laughsby Jamie Donne
God in heaven laughs. This has been a beloved line of scripture for me but also deeply disturbing. I love that God recorded in Scripture that He is sitting on the throne laughing. In the Old Testament where so often we hear the stories of a supposed “angry God,” we catch the heart of the one who laughs. And yet, it’s a rather odd context. When the nations are raging and kings are making their plans of calamity, God is laughing. To be honest, I didn’t like that picture. “When the nations are raging, people are dying, God! Why are you laughing?!” was my general monologue with the Lord. Of course these verses remind how trivial it is to think about a human scheming in Turkey, thinking they are more knowledgeable than the One who holds all things together. But the tension was too much for me, so I liked to skip over the context and remember simply that the One we adore is full of personality–relentless love, endless creativity, boundless joy, even laughter.
In the midst of a garbage dump in Cambodia, The Lord nudged my heart to remind me that he is the one who loves and lives in paradoxes and complete fullness. Where we would see dichotomies, God is the true definition of balance–100% in every direction. He is the God who comes with fire and yet he chooses kindness to draw men and women to his heart. He invites us to come like a child and loves a mature Bride. He is foolishly passionate and wisdom personified. In a place of unimaginable poverty, a dump where you could choose weeping, dancing, kazoos, and laughter break forth. The oil of gladness poured out instead of mourning.
Fullness of Joy
He is the laughing God who never turns His face away from our pain. He is fully compassionate, fully mourning over injustice, completely sympathizing with our weakness, wholly reaching out his arm to save us. He is so whole that He can perfectly model what it means to mourn with those who mourn while refusing to leave us there. God sees the full picture, knowing the end of the story that finishes well. The Light of the World pierces darkness and remains completely joyful in the midst of every pain. He lifts the atmosphere of pain and brings His laughter to break through the sting of injustice. When The Lord sympathizes with our weakness, it is not empty, but rather full of the perfect compassion that lifts us out of our weakness and seats us in heavenly places.
In a garbage dump community in Bangkok we were joining with the sweet song of Heaven over a woman and began to laugh with the bliss of heaven as we tuned into the words God was singing over her. The Lord was expanding her territory–what a ridiculous thought. I found myself laughing with delight that The Lord truly sees us, all of us, and his vision is so different than the world’s.
Sharing moments with the poorest of the poor, I re-learned the fierce power of joy. Sometimes we need to laugh our way into freedom. It’s just like the Lord to bring laughter in a place of oppression and celebration instead of shame. A joy tunnel in the midst of the red light district–who is like The Lord?
Buy the Free Wine!
Darkness doesn’t need more darkness or agreement with the heaviness. Darkness calls out for light to break forth. The lonely don’t need someone to feel sorry for them, they need a family. God laughs because it’s what’s needed. He laughs while he comforts and gives the yoke that is easy and light. Over the circumstances of your life, there is oil of joy and a light yoke extended to you. “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” We have an invitation to drink of the wine of heaven and laugh in the company of your enemies. Even when the nations rage, situations beyond comprehension, there is still laughter to usher in freedom. When the business deal fails, joy evermore; for the sting of rejection, laughter; when the dream is still unfulfilled, gladness.
It comes without striving or performance. Buy the free wine! There is a river whose streams make a whole city glad. We just need to take another drink. Whatever circumstances are before you this week, there is a deeper revelation of joy available. My prayer is that we might drink deeply and find the laughter that sets us free.