Does God Laugh?

brush over several cans

What we can find through any Bible concordance is this –  God laughs at His enemies. This, of course, is not funny but rather enlarges the truth that any nation or people that rise up against an almighty God are so foolhardy in doing so that it is truly laughable.

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One…The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.”  (Psalm 2:2-4)

The Word of God declares here, and elsewhere, that man’s efforts to thwart God’s plans, escape His laws and judgments, are futile and vain.  Meditating on this truth will draw us further into a reverent fear and awe of God.

Not explicit in the Bible however is this: Does God have a sense of humor?  Is there ever a chuckle in a holy and awesome God?  I myself have sensed the laughter of the Lord on few occasions, most recently last week in my kitchen, as I stirred a gallon paint with chopsticks….

After 30 years, our tiny old kitchen, 12’x 8’, finally got the rehab it cried for.  I had no idea that beautiful granite, custom cabinets, and new fixtures could give me such pleasure!  Backsplash, ceramic tiles and accents all enhanced a wonderful color scheme.  However at the last touch the creative flow truly ran amuck…

“…the kitchen came out great!”  I shared, “the only task left is choosing a color for the walls.”

My co-worker shared her design secret, “Look at the granite and choose a color from it that will ‘pop out’ on the walls!”

‘Pop out’ sounded good.  Looking closely at the granite counter I could see sparse dots of blue.  “That’s it! Blue it is!”  With that contrast of color, I imagined my kitchen could impress as a sky with a rising or setting sun…

“Are you sure that’s the color you want?” asked the contractor when ordering the paint.

“Yes, it is” I confirmed.  Obviously, I thought,  contractors know little about ‘popping colors’.

When I arrived home to view my ‘sun rising kitchen’ I saw, in less than a second, that it was the worst color combination known to mankind.  All the pleasure of the kitchen was lost – I could hardly cook.  Immediate change was needed – pale yellow and fast.

Pale yellow worked well until a leak caused some damage to the ceiling and wall.  After repair, repainting was required.  Well, I figured, if pale yellow worked so well, let’s go bolder!

Paint job #3, ‘bolder yellow’, proved a mistake.  It overpowered the whole room.  I will repaint the kitchen myself, I concluded, to make this right.  ‘Tangerine Mist’ was recommended by a reliable source and I believed it –   until I painted it. At the first strokes my heart sank but I went into denial, “…this will look good once the whole kitchen is painted”.  Ha-ha.   No more sun-setting color popping bold kitchen – back to palest yellow as soon as possible.

I opened the can, color #5 and stirred with chopsticks…. “Hmm.  Actually,” I thought, “this doesn’t look like pale yellow.  Why does this look florescent?  No, it can’t be,” I decided, back in denial, “it will look good once it gets on the walls….”  While brushing and rolling I convinced myself it would look better once it dries.   After one wall I stood and stared at a yellow color that seemed to shout, “Stop! Go no further!”   Now bewildered, “How can this be?  How could one room be painted five times?”   It was not at all funny until later that night – it was hilarious.

Was God amused?  What does He – who created humor –  laugh at?  While stirring and gazing into that paint can, claiming ‘no, this is not possible’, I sensed the chuckle of God.  It might have been a hearty laugh when I stood back, with brush in hand, lamenting, “Oh no.  This even makes Tangerine Mist look good.”

Indeed the Lord holds a serious singular focus – declared from Genesis to Revelation – to reconcile and restore man unto Himself for eternity.  He opens His heart to the one surrendered, sharing from the depths of His passions – His grief, His anger, His love and mercy.  He speaks to our heart and speaks through His Word, renewing our mind and refreshing our soul.   Could laughter be one of His healing balms?  In those unexpected moments when we are surprised by humor, it may well be God laughing and inviting us in – to lift our heart, to change our view and move us forward.

Do Animals Go To Heaven?

"If only this were true for me too..."

“If only this were true for me too…”

Do Animals Go to Heaven?

After my beloved cat Remy died, I pondered this question at length.  A few days later,  while approaching a co-worker’s office,  I caught the end of her conversation with another.  They were apparently discussing heaven.

“Do animals go to heaven?   I always hope to see my dog there….”

“No,” was the reply, “They don’t go to heaven, they have no soul!”

What?  No soul?  I did not offer the objection that arose in my heart.  Obviously this sincere woman did not know Remy….nor the likes of Cookie, Scout, or Tina.  What about beautiful Kelly, our seeing eye dog, whose heart was solely bent on pleasing her family?  And Alison, her ‘co-worker’ who, in times of grief, could read my countenance and run to comfort me?  Alison….who, in her senior years of retirement, saved her family during a house fire…. no soul???

I began a Biblical search to grasp a broader understanding and, quite frankly, validate my hopes and own anticipation.  Animals are frequently present in the Bible, most often in a positive and purposeful way.  God is not indifferent to them at all, in fact He displayed His unmatched creative glory when He fashioned the animal kingdom.

The Lord’s overtures to animals are actually vast, from Genesis – where He ushered in every specie into an ark –   to the ‘lion and the lamb’, noted in scripture as present in His coming heavenly kingdom.   In the book of Numbers, chapter 22, God ‘opened the mouth’ of a donkey, letting him speak his mind to his rider Balaam.  It is obvious from this text that the donkey had more wisdom than his master.

God cares about animals, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”  (Matthew 10:29)  “In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”  (Job 12:10)

We are but stewards of this earth and all that is upon it – God is the rightful owner of all, “….every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  (Psalm 50: 10-11) .  The Omnipotent and Omnipresent One knows every bird…while, according to National Geographic, man has yet to even identify 86% of earth’s species!

There is more in scripture to affirm that the Lord knows and cares for all his creation.   No Bible scholar would dispute these findings.  The question remains, do animals go to heaven?

Well known Christians such as Randy Alcorn and C.S. Lewis provide theological argument and insight supporting the presence of animals and/or pets in heaven.  Scripture describes the presence of animals, living in harmony, in God’s coming kingdom: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together….The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, the lion will eat straw like the ox….”  (Isaiah 11: 6-7)

If the soul is where the mind and emotion meet, where intellect and reason dwell, then yes, of course, animals have souls.  Who doubts their capacity to discern friend and foe, express emotions of love, anger and fear?  There is little doubt that animals communicate.  They grieve for lost members – do they not love?  Anyone with a beloved pet knows, they receive and give.  Delving deeper, do animals have a spirit?  Can they hear from God?

There are Biblical examples of animals hearing the call of God and obeying – at His call they came to the ark, at His call fish swam into nets.   They are created for the service and pleasure of man but owned and governed by their Master.  They live out the life designed by their Maker.

Jesus Christ provided forgiveness of sin to all who receive Him.  As “…all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23, we need a Savior.  The shed blood of Christ is the atoning sacrifice for all who come to Him in faith.  Through Jesus Christ we have salvation and life eternal,  “…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”  I John 5:11.

What about animals?

Assuredly, the Son of God did not die for the eternal life of animals.  However, animals did not rebel against God.  Within Biblical teaching we can see that it is man who is born with a sinful nature, man who rebelled against God, man who is capable of every wretched sin conceived in the bowels of hell.  Assuredly, it is man who is in need of a Savior!  Above all, we must ask, are we reconciled with God, are we heaven bound?

We have a Savior, our Good Shepherd, who has prepared our way to eternity.  Much of what awaits for us there is a mystery.  Animals will surely dwell in the coming Kingdom of God – will Remy be there?  What about Cookie, Kelly, Scout?  Why not?

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”   (I Corinthians 2:9)