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Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Sure He does! Where else would we get ours, since we are made in His image, and a sense of humor is such a delightful gift?

Humor, though, is culturally rooted (with the exception of mother-in-law jokes, which are apparently universal in any culture on the planet!). That’s why most of us Westerners find it difficult to understand that Jesus was really a funny fellow. For instance, it’s easy for us to imagine Him intoning solemnly, “Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!” (Matt. 23:28) Not only is it a funny mental image, but Jesus was making a pun that is completely lost in translation. The Aramaic word for gnat is galma, and the word for camel is gamla. If we’d been there as onlookers, we would have howled.

Sure He does! Where else would we get ours, since we are made in His image, and a sense of humor is such a delightful gift?

Humor, though, is culturally rooted (with the exception of mother-in-law jokes, which are apparently universal in any culture on the planet!). That’s why most of us Westerners find it difficult to understand that Jesus was really a funny fellow. For instance, it’s easy for us to imagine Him intoning solemnly, “Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!” (Matt. 23:28) Not only is it a funny mental image, but Jesus was making a pun that is completely lost in translation. The Aramaic word for gnat is galma, and the word for camel is gamla. If we’d been there as onlookers, we would have howled.

So maybe some more modern examples, closer to home, will serve to show that our God has an absolutely delightful sense of humor.

My dear friend Holly told me this story:

“One time I was reading a story in which the author tells the reader that God delights in wooing us and that we can even ask Him to give us a love song. After all, Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that He will quiet us with His love and rejoice over us with singing. So why not ask Him for a love song?

“I was thinking about that one day while waiting for my lunch order. I was sitting outside a cafe in the beautiful sunshine, when two girls walked up to the outdoor picnic benches I was at, put down their purses and went inside to order their lunch.

“I smiled at them as they walked inside, and then went back to pondering what kind of love song God could possibly give me. Would He honor the request right away, if at all? Maybe He’d send a bird chirping a beautiful song. Maybe He’d just splash a beam of sun right across my lap. Maybe He’d . . . oh, never mind. It’s just silly to think about these things.

“But . . . the author did say that God delighted to do these kinds of things.

“Well, here goes nothing.

“‘God, would you send me a love song?’ I squeak out meekly.

“No sooner had the words left my lips when this girl’s cell phone started ringing in her purse loud enough for me to hear the ring tone. Over and over again it just kept repeating this phrase from a song by The Doors: ‘Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name? Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?’ I laughed and laughed and laughed! That crazy God with a GREAT sense of humor and perfect timing!!”

Holly’s friend Sheila read that story and responded with this:

“God is definitely funny. Just today I was praying that I wouldn’t step on the dead mouse in the attic today, and I ‘heard’ the reply, ‘How about tomorrow?’ I laughed out loud.”

I never thought of God as witty like that, but why not?

This is my all-time favorite, told to me by Angie herself:

When she was mothering three young children, she was struggling with a number of severe stressors when she sensed God calling to her. Literally. In her spirit, she heard Him say her full name: “Angela.” Only her mother and God call her Angela. So she knew He wanted her to do something and whatever it was, she knew she didn’t want to do it.

She heard, “Angela,” and she held up her hand to the Lord and said, “Talk to Moses.”

Some time passed, and she heard His voice again: “Angela.” Again, she said, “Talk to Moses.”

More time passed. And then one day she was cooking dinner, stirring the pasta into boiling water, when she distinctly heard His voice again: “Joshua 1:2.”

Oh boy.

She turned off the stove, told her son to watch his younger siblings, grabbed her Bible and went to her room to read, “Moses My servant is dead. You, however, arise and go . . .”

Now that’s funny. I don’t care who you are!

 

This post was originally published on August 26, 2012

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

4 Comments

  • Corrina

    Oh how wonderful to think! 

    Oh how wonderful to think!  I've asked this question out loud before and I am so glad that He showed me your article to confirm what I've always suspected.  I am glad to know that it is not disrespectful to joke and laugh with Jesus. 

    I find most of my worship comes through singing along to positive music in my car.  A few times I have pointed my finger up to heaven and said, "This one's for You!" followed by me belting out a terribly off-key, overly loud and obnoxious rendition of the praise song.  Lol.  I heard a saying once that's stuck with me, "If God has blessed you with a beautiful singing voice then sing loudly to Him in thanks.  If God has not blessed you with a good singing voice then sing loudly anyways and give it right back to Him!" 

    It is a beautiful thought to imagine that amongst all the heartache and pain that He must feel in Heaven over the lost; in spite of all that He may look down at His beloved children and rejoice and smile with us. 

    Praise Jesus for His goodness and love!

  • Sue Bohlin

    When God Laughs

    Thanks Corrina! I, too, believe the Lord has a wonderful balance of mercy and compassion. . . and an ability to laugh at and with us in the most endearing way.

  • Ken Stewart

    I heard a pastor say, “You

    I heard a pastor say, "You don't think God has a sense of humor? Take a look at the people sitting around you!"

    Never knew about the gnat/camel wordplay. Now when friends groan at my puns, I can say, "Just trying to be more like Jesus!" (But I won't.)

    Thanks for this one, Sue!

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