Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday Challenge - Imagine what God's laugh sounds like
It was a fun Homecoming Week, and like we said, it's always like Thanksgiving for us. Friends and family descend on Gainesville and it's a great time. And then squeaking out a dramatic win, even better. Wow, that game was nerve racking. So, moving on.......
Friday night our nephew had the honor of hanging out with us while his parents went out, and they left him at home because he apparently had been less than delightful all day. It was pretty obvious they were glad to be rid of him for a few hours. We, however, were pretty excited.
Our evening started with eating big messy hamburgers, then we made a robot that actually walked, and it all came to an end with one of the most brutal karate matches in the history of the universe. And it would have been the world's best karate match had his parents not come home in the middle of it. His mother was appalled that we had let her child stay up WAY past his bedtime, but wasn't that shocked. His father, however, was both shocked and appalled that he was missing out on the karate match of all time, and immediately joined in. In the middle of the chopping and kicking and the ridiculous noise making, our nephew yelled out at his dad, "it's nice to hear you laugh again Daddy!" and then whacked his father in the leg.
So this tale brings us to our Sunday challenge. What do you think God's laugh sounds like? Thinking about this over the weekend, we couldn't think of a single sermon between the lot of us on God laughing (and believe us, we've sat through alot of church). But why haven't we? Surely God laughs, but why don't we ever hear about it? We've heard every other kind of sermon about God's wrath and judgment, and His mercy and grace. But why not one on his sense of humor? Personally, we want to hear God giggle, and then accidentally snort, and then belly laugh because He snorted. And why shouldn't He? He's the God of hope and joy, isn't He? Sorry, but a snort/belly laugh is what we think of when we hear the word "joy."
Searching for a photo to accompany this challenge we googled "funny father" and found the above picture. Its caption was "Funny Father from Iraq" and the website was muslimvideo.com. Let's be honest, as Americans living in the post 9/11 age you don't really associate the words "Muslim" and "funny" together. Because of 9/11, and the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, when you hear "Muslim" and "Iraq" in a sentence, the words "war", "terror", "jihad", etc. all come to mind. You don't think of a happy father and his laughing children, saying "hello" to you.
Sadly, this is what alot of us think of God too. We think of an angry father who is displeased with us. A guy who'll be sending trouble our way, if he hasn't already, because of something we did. And the Bible does state that God "disciplines the sons that he loves." But we think He also likes to have a laugh with us too, it's just that we seem to have forgotten that He does, and don't invite Him to our fun times. We imagine it's like being tickled. We all know that in order to be tickled, you have to be willing. There is no way you can tickle a closed off grump. It's true. You try and tickle a pouting 7 year old who doesn't want to go to bed. Doesn't work. Ask us how we know, and we'll refer you back to the karate match to end all matches.
So this week, we challenge you to try and imagine having a good time with God, and Him giggling and snorting Himself over how much He loves you and how happy you make Him as His child. Or imagine that you're one of the kids in the photo above hanging onto your dad and having a fun time, and Him being as happy as you are, even though you live in a war zone and may be rebuilding your lives.
We know that this won't be easy for most of us, because we know the statistics that 3 out of 4 American kids are growing up without a dad at home. We didn't have one either, so we know. Instead of thinking that God is the dad that wasn't there, or made mistakes, or fell short somehow, try and imagine God as the dad you not only wanted but also needed. He'll be that. But it's kind of like being tickled, you have to be willing to let Him in.
And though it may be hard to believe, we have a hunch that God would love to have the most awesome karate match in the hallway with you, and will actually laugh when you whack Him in the leg, after accusing Him of being a grump. He can take it, He's God. And if that's not your thing, then at least settle for imagining Him giving you a big hug, and sneaking in a tickle on the ribs, while not letting you go. Because He's that kind of God too. Not just the vengeance and wrath one. Really.
And if you don't know Him, we'll be glad to introduce you.