Behind the Art: Holy Laughter

Job is often held up as someone of perseverance — and for good reason. Job endures a terrible storm!

If you read the book of Job, you’ll see that Job has four friends that sit with him in his misery. The first three friends want to help but are mostly unhelpful. Job’s last friend, Elihu, is apparently much young yet he offers the most profound wisdom when we corrects the friends and Job alike.

God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.

Job 37: 5 (ESV)

Basically, Elihu tells the friends that they can’t possibly speak for God. He also addresses Job and calls him to account. Elihu tells Job that by simply believing he is good, Godly, and able to mount a defense in favor of his own goodness that proves His pride against God — as if Job’s good life could really mean anything to an eternal God.

After Elihu speaks, it’s not clear if the friends leave or if God responds to Job with them present. I like to think that His friends have gone. However, God does respond and what He says is amazing! In fact, chapters 38-41 are some of my favorite Chapters in the Bible.

These chapters are filled with the unsearchable ways of God. God addresses things and events that I take for granted or may not even consider. God speaks of commanding the morning, walking the deep parts of the sea, entering the storehouses of snow, giving birth to ice, satisfying the appetites of wild animals. He speaks of his servant, the wild ox; the unwise ostrich, though she be beautiful; and the birds of prey that make their homes high in rocks in order to hunt.

God asks, very plainly, “Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” He asks Job to judge the wrongdoer and bring himself salvation — an impossible task. He even asks, “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?” He follows that with, “Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

It was God’s answer to Job that inspired Holy Laughter.

I often see my own importance. I view life as if I’m the vital piece to the puzzle. If I miss my moment/calling/purpose then I mess something up for all of eternity — or at least my time on earth.

I, like Job, view my good life or at least the moments of kindness as something that deserves goodness in return. I think my “acceptable” sin is somehow less destructive than that “unacceptable” sin (as if God has a list of meh-sins and really-bad-sins).

Job 38 doesn’t state that God laughed. In fact, there’s nothing in the passages in indicate that God laughed. But I have a tendency to read much of God’s response with an incredulous laugh.

God is a just and jealous God but He’s not surprised by our humanity. He’s not startled by our selfish thinking, our self-proclaimed righteousness, or our ignorant ideas. He takes them (and us) as they come.

I hear the laughter because of my own understanding of God’s nature.

I hear God addressing Job like, “Ok, so you think you’ve got this figured out? You think you understand? You really think that you’re importance is supreme? Ok. Then let’s get started!”

God sees us each as important but not because of our importance. We’re important because we’re His.

It’s like having a cheap, candy ring that’s only important because of the moment and person it’s linked to in your thinking. We’re a small, insignificant item in the home that even the thrift store won’t keep. We’re important because He says we’re important — not because of our importance.

The Bible tells us that God laughs. Particularly that God laughs at haughty and ungodly nations.

But you, God, break out laughing; you treat the godless nations like jokes.

Psalm 59: 8 (Message)

Thankfully, He sees our arrogance and doesn’t turn us away for it. However, I often think that He laughs just a little as our childish thoughts take precedence. Just as the parent laughs when a child says something out of the blue that is both ridiculous and incorrect, so does He. He is willing to listen and correct but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t laugh.

However, God is Holy. And anything that comes from His mouth is powerful. Therefore, even His laughter is powerful. His laughter does something — even if I may not understand it. The colors selected are ones of power and strength.

Holy Laughter is a painting that embodies Job 38-41. It’s the laughter and the power. It’s the movement and tiniest moments of knowing. It’s the wonderful, splendor, and awesomeness of God’s Holy Laughter.

Holy Laughter isn’t yet available for purchase but it’s coming soon!

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