Life + Culture

Enjoy a Good Laugh, Like God

Enjoy a Good Laugh, Like God

Feel no ambivalence whatsoever about enjoying some good clean fun on April Fools’ Day. God loves a good laugh. And the devil gets way too much credit when it comes to humor, like he does with sex. But humor comes from God, not Satan. So April Fools’ Day can give us an opportunity to taste heaven, and play Satan for the fool that he is.

Humor (like sex) is not a result of the fall. Only perverted humor is. Humor springs from God and, being supreme in all things good, he’s the most humorous person in existence. He is the happy God (1 Timothy 1:11), the source of all that is healthy and wholesome and purely hilarious. Anyone who would come up with the ideas to create dogs, llamas, parrots, and proboscis monkeys has a riotous sense of humor.

Preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), nobody laughs like God does. He laughs for joy and he laughs in derision at fools who think they can overthrow him (Psalm 2:4). The only reason we have the capacity to laugh ourselves to tears is because we’re like him. God is holy. But if we think holiness and humor are incompatible, it’s only because we’ve been sold a diabolical lie.

The Pervert of Humor

Satan is a rip-off artist. He’s a pervert. He’s no humorist. He’s funny like a serial killer. He’s deft at deception and has been effective at casting himself as the king of swing and his kingdom as party central, where you go if you really want a good time.

The devil doesn’t enjoy fun. As C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape wrote to his demonic protégé, “Fun is closely related to Joy . . . it promotes charity, courage, contentment and many other evils” (The Screwtape Letters, 53). The devil does not want us to have fun that leads to joy. He seeks to twist fun into something that has imperceptible evil tentacles — tentacles that wrap around us with which he can pull us toward destruction.

Satan is smart and savvy; we can give him that. There is diabolical genius in his perversions. He knows how to effectively sell us “enjoyments” that will destroy our joy, and he can get us laughing at things that will destroy our laughter.

But let us not for a moment think that Satan is funny. He takes himself way to seriously for that. For Satan, humor is something to employ, not enjoy. To him, humor is only a means he can corrupt in order to blind, manipulate, control, condemn, divide, isolate, degrade, and enslave people. And in doing so, thumb his nose at God. Satan uses humor to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

God Loves a Good Laugh

But God loves a good laugh! It’s God who says to us, “a joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). We would all be healthier and happier and, very likely, holier if we had more good laughs. For laughter is more characteristic of God than weeping.

One of my favorite Puritan prayers begins like this:

Thou art the blessed God,
Happy in thyself,
Source of happiness in thy creatures. (The Valley of Vision, 212)

And one of my favorite modern Puritans has written:

The eternal happiness of the triune God spilled over in the work of creation and redemption. And since this original happiness was God’s delight in His own glory, therefore the happiness that He has in all His works of creation and redemption is nothing other than a delight in His own glory. (John Piper, Desiring God, 44–45)

God is not the sad God, but the blessed (happy) God! And God’s happiness is eternal and rooted in his unchangeable, unshakable, glorious nature. That means our Source of exuberant happiness is never-ending! I believe that in the age to come we are going to be surprised at how much and how hard God makes us laugh!

“You Shall Laugh”

One of the great tragedies of the fall is that we lost so much of our capacity to laugh with God. This sin-sick, evil-infected world became a place of serious sorrow and our sin-diseased fallen natures became seriously distorted and pathologically prideful.

But Jesus came to change all that. The eternally happy God became the “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3) for us. But this was only for a short time. And like him, our sad tears are only for a short time — a short lifespan. We may weep for the brief night, but Joy is coming in the eternal morning (Psalm 30:5).

And the “man of sorrows” himself said, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21). Hear that: You shall laugh! That is a promise of a happy God (1 Timothy 1:11). Crying is going to go the way of death and someday will be no more (Revelation 21:4). But joy full to overflowing and pleasure pure and rich will never end (Psalm 16:11).

Weeping will end, but not laughter. We will laugh for joy millions of times more than we have ever wept for sorrow.

Laugh on April Fools’ Day!

April Fools’ Day is not about celebrating what the Bible defines as a fool. It’s about good-natured, lighthearted, innocent shenanigans and some heart-healthy laughter. Enjoy it! Pull some pranks! God loves a good laugh and you are like God when you laugh good and hard.

And since good laughter is a taste of heaven, it’s completely unpalatable to Satan. He is the Greatest Fool of All Time. So a good, healthy joke, a moment of side-splitting wholesome humor, and actually laughing at Satan when he tempts you with some perverted joy-substitute is a great way to play him for the Fool that he is. And when you do that, you are also like God:

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming (Psalm 37:12–13).


More from Desiring God

  • Pity the Fool | An April Fools’ Day meditation on what the Book of Proverbs has to say about wisdom and folly.

  • How to Recognize a Foolish Leader | The right kind of leader, under the wise governing checks and balances constructed in the American constitution, will help guide our nation through the very precarious days that lie ahead of us.

  • The Fall of Satan and the Victory of Christ | From Genesis 3:1–15, John Piper, in a single sermon, explains Satan’s origin, the role he plays under God’s sovereignty, his ultimate defeat, and how we should respond to him.

...Read More.

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