It was a gloriously special time in life, when God was revealing Himself to His newly reborn child of thirty earth years. We were getting well acquainted. I had questions, yet was determined to remain true to my commitment to Christ, no matter what answers came. The setting was a picturesque, mountainous region of North Carolina, where I'd been led by the Spirit to relocate. Spiritually, I was up on the mountain of God, in His presence, where there's great joy, and all needs are miraculously provided.
If I was to then live a life that pleases my Lord, every action taken was vitally important, every word spoken scrutinized, and every thought weighed in the balance.
"Heavenly Father, what parts of my character are okay to keep? What about my sense of humor? You know how I love to make people laugh."
How does God feel about such things? Does Jesus laugh?
I asked Him.
"Lord, do you have a sense of humor?"
Unknowingly, I had just enlisted for a three day affair of side splitting hilarity. Good thing no other people were around, they may have called for those guys in white coats to come haul me off to the loony bin. I'd never laughed so heartily or for such a lengthy duration.
Seeking the Lord's thoughts on numerous issues, the Bible would enlighten me on most subjects. However, God always offered multiple confirmations, through various modes of delivery, insuring there would be no misinterpretation. For instance, I'd turn on the radio in my vehicle and a minister would be talking about the exact query I'd just made. Or I'd make a phone call to some person and they'd unwittingly be right on point, confirming what God just revealed to me. He also used circumstances as confirmation. There's no sensation in the world so spectacular as the certainty, that the one true Deity is communicating—dealing directly with you!
As the Spirit compelled to delve into God's word, every page I flipped open had me laughing. Humor was our topic of discussion that day. And reading it in that light, searching for whether or not God likes to laugh, I found His multifarious funny bone. Of course the comedy that makes one person roar, might bore another. A superb fact is that He knows more about us than we do ourselves. He distinguished precisely what makes me chuckle.
"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh..." Psalms 2:4 KJV
It began subtly with poetic justice and irony. Haman had a gallows built, hatching a plot to hang Mordecai, but God took the nefarious scheme and turned the tables on the Jew hating perpetrator. Haman ended up being hung on the same gallows he'd built for the one he despised. (Esther 5:9 - 7:10).
Those who set a snare for another will be caught in it themselves. Those who roll a stone onto another; it will roll back onto them. It reminded me of the Wiley Coyote and Road Runner cartoon. Every time that determined Coyote set a trap for the beep-beeping road runner it would backfire on him. He'd get squashed, fall off a cliff or get blown up, while his nemesis would escape unscathed. All of a sudden, stuff I'd previously read in the bible was becoming a whimsical comedy.
"Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them."
Proverbs 26:27 NIV
"The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net that they hid is their own foot taken." Psalm 9:15 KJV
How about when King Saul was hunting for David? David was with Samuel the prophet. Saul and the men he'd sent, were determined to kill David, but when they came near, the Spirit came upon them, causing the would-be murderers to prophesy and bring glory to God. Their plans were thwarted. Or when the King of Aram thought he had a spy in his inner circle, who was leaking his strategies and battle plans to his enemy, the King of Israel? He was furious.
"We have a mole—a spy! Who is it?" But it was God who was spilling the information.
"None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom."
2 Kings 6:12 NIV
There were a truckload of scriptures that proved beyond any skepticism that God indeed has a wonderful sense of humor. Once a person gets to laughing, the funniness has a way of increasing as you go, like a crescendo in music. The climaxing bible story which nearly knocked me off my chair in gleeful hysteria was where God made Balaam's donkey talk. (Numbers chapter 22)
That donkey opened his mouth. "Hey Balaam! Yeah, it's me your donkey talkin to ya. Quit hittin me with that stick! What did I do to deserve you beating on me these three times?"
Yes, I'd found my new best friend; one I could be myself with, because He already knew all about me. We laughed together, enjoying each other. And we cried and mourned together.
It didn't take much to satiate me. A pick-up truck, a few hand tools, and some work clothes made up the bulk of my meager possessions. I was starting over from scratch, and in more ways than one; spiritually, physically and financially. I had no job and very little money. And it was my first time in North Carolina. Yet there was great contentment and peace—complete satisfaction. And I was experiencing many downright awesome things for the first time. Hey, what could be better than hanging out with the Creator of the cosmos?
My lessons turned to the necessity of frequently gathering together with the body of Christ: my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Until then it'd been just me and Jesus; I hadn't been to church for a while.
After driving around Rutherford County, searching for just the right church, the Spirit pointed out the one to visit that coming Sunday. I was eager and excited, until Sunday rolled around.
My suitcase of dress clothes had gotten wet. Everything was covered with mildew. I had to throw out the only descent set of clothes I'd brought along. Neither did I have the money to purchase a new outfit. So, I polished some cowboy boots, brushed off my best jeans and put on a clean shirt. Driving into the church lot, I noticed all the expensive shiny new cars. Then saw the people headed inside all duded up in their fancy Sunday-go-to-meetin clothes.
It was a lousy time to notice the bed of my rusted out Chevy was all trashed up. Then comparing my clothes to the garb of my siblings in Christ, it caused me turn around in shame and head straight back out of the parking lot. I turned towards my rented cracker box, with grapefruit sized holes in the floor, which was dubbed, "the holy trailer."
I was embarrassed to go into church, but also ashamed before my best friend, because I'd acted like a coward. Just recently learning of His sense of humor, I decided to use that to my advantage.
"Father, I'm sorry. I was ashamed to go in there looking like this. My hair needs cut—I look like a hippie. But Lord, I'm your child. If you really want your kid to go in there looking like he just fell off the hobo train...well... then I promise I'll go to church next week. But if it's alright with you, I could sure use some new church clothes."
I had just given my, amen to that short prayer, when I drove past the community dumpsters. Turning around, I pulled in to clean out the back of my truck.
There, hanging on the outside of one garbage bin were three men's suits, like new, in plastic wrap from the dry cleaners. Someone who'd had a yard sale left them where people could see them. No need to ask, they all three fit as if they'd been custom tailored to my body. Tears mingled with joyous laughter over God's answer to my appeasing joke, blurred my vision as I headed home. I kept having to pull off the road to clear my eyes. It's as if He was saying, "How do you like them apples?" The haircut too was provided by God, through my sister, who lived fifteen miles to the north.
Every day was now filled with miracles, flowing on the heels of the previous. And finally God said it was time to find another job; the vacation was over. But I wasn't prepared for how quickly cold weather set in. Unbeknownst to me, the radiator in my truck had lost its antifreeze. With the first overnight freeze the motor block on my truck froze and cracked. It could only be driven short distances, stopping intermittently to add water. I had failed to be a good steward of God's pick-up truck. How was I going to get back and forth to work, once a job was found? I pleaded for forgiveness and His grace.
Waking up Monday morning, the Spirit instructed me to head on into town. Strolling down the Mayberry-looking main street of Rutherfordton, elation bubbled up inside me over the down-home charm and warmth of its people. I stood agape, peering into the drug store, which sported a cafe with an old fashioned soda fountain. A young man with a neat appearance approached and introduced himself. It seems people in these small towns all know what's going on with everyone else. He knew I was the brother of Brenda Ellison and I'd come here from Florida.
The fellow happened to be the town manager of Rutherfordton. He asked, "Are you going to be staying here for a while? Perhaps you might need a job?"
"Yes Sir, I was just considering going back to work."
"Forgive me for being so forward, but we're in need of someone to do the upkeep on our four city parks. You'd be the head of parks and recreation. Only thing is, we have a service truck allotted for this position and we don't have room for it at the motor pool. You'd have to drive it back and forth from your home every day. I hope that wouldn't be a problem."
The Lord's fingerprints were lucidly all over this thing. I'd never said anything to anyone about me looking for work, or about my cracked motor block. Instantly, I had a job, transportation, and even a flashy title. And I never even had to fill out an application or ask a soul. Well, I did ask God. And when He's on your side...
When my first check arrived I took it into the bank to cash it. The teller said she didn't need to see my Identification. "We all know who you are Sheldon."
"Wow, I'm among real country folk, where a man's word and a handshake still mean something! I love it! No wonder you wanted me to come here Lord. You knew I would enjoy the glorious mountains and streams nearby, and adore this quaint little town, and fit right in with its people!"
God has led me many places, directing me to do a plethora of differing work for Him, since I first fell in love with my Creator. But that special time, which I like to call our honeymoon period, has given me the absolute assurance; that he is always with me, that he cares deeply for me, and that He's all powerful. Which means, I can comfortably trust Him with my life. Besides, He makes me laugh!