Susan Sparks: We are Children of a God with a Sense of Humor

Recently, I came across this short piece I wrote in seminary. Although created many years ago, it still captures the essence of why I do what I do. Enjoy!


We are children of a God with a sense of humor.  

What—you doubt?

I can understand.  

God is not always portrayed as the most jovial of characters. In fact, I grew up thinking of God as something akin to Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter. 

The Book of Exodus, for instance, introduces us to a God who kills the first-born of his enemies and buries their armies in a raging sea. (Not exactly someone you want to pass an afternoon with in Starbucks.) Or how about Psalm 58: “O God, break the teeth in their mouths … like grass, let them be trodden down and wither; Let them be like the snail which dissolves into slime … consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more.” Now there’s a friendly greeting card for ya.

The truth is, however, that God is beyond any labels. And while there may well be a part of God that dissolves snails into slime, that same God has a heart that aches over one lost sheep and laughs with joy when we return home.  

Let’s consider some other scriptures that paint a different picture of the holy. How about Genesis 17 where God tells Sarah (at ninety) she will have a baby? Sarah and her ancient husband Abraham both fall to the ground laughing. But guess who has the last laugh? God. For Sarah has the baby and names him Isaac, the Hebrew word for laughter.  (As an aside, I always thought this was a mean trick by God -- who ever heard of obstetrics being covered by Medicare?)

If you still aren’t convinced, then I’ll pull out the big guns: 1 Samuel 5:9 (King James Version). There the Philistines had stolen the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites and God was understandably upset . . . 

“And it was so, that, after [the Philistines] had carried [the Ark] about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and the Lord smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had hemorrhoids in their secret parts.” 

I say again, we are children of a God with a sense of humor. In truth, I think it is us who have lost our ability to laugh. Perhaps, the philosopher Voltaire was right when he said, "God is a comedian playing to an audience who is afraid to laugh."  

Why not take a moment today and find joy -- even laugh with God? I betcha God will take it from there.    

"This is the day that the Lord has made.We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 188:24

“The Lord will rejoice over you in great gladness; He will renew you in his love; He will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.” Zephaniah 3:17-18 

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 

"Happy are you who weep now; you shall laugh.” Luke 6:21 

“All who seek for God shall live in joy.” Psalm 69:32


Reposted from Susan's newsletter, Shiny Side Up! To connect with Susan, click here.