(Scripture references as noted)
In your mind’s eye, what is the image you have of God? Is He frowning? Does He have an angry scowl on His face? Is He sad? Is He disappointed, grieving, maybe even weeping? Or, is He smiling? Laughing? Maybe dancing and singing?
I believe that the image we have of God has everything to do with our relationship with Him; and a lot to do with where we are in that relationship at any given moment.
God is full of emotions and feels them deeply. How could we believe anything different, knowing the full and all encompassing love He has for us – so much more than we as mere humans could ever feel or understand? After all, this is the creator of the world and all that is within it. This is the God that created man in His own image. This is the God that loved mankind so much that in order to save us from ourselves and Satan, He became man, suffered and died in order to preserve us, giving us the opportunity to dwell with Him for all eternity. I am certain that if we could physically see Him and could sit back and observe Him closely, we would see the full gamut of every emotion possible.
Think about the person that you now have or have had in the past, that you loved the very most in your life. That love does not/did not prevent you from feeling and expressing every emotion possible. It is likely that that love is exactly why the emotions run so deeply; and will be the cause for the full range, from the very most negative ones to the most wonderful ones.
So does God, our perfect and loving God, really get angry? Yes, He does. We can read about His anger repeatedly in the scriptures. But, we as humans tend to get angry sometimes over trivial things that really do not justify our anger. God does not get angry over every little perceived injustice – His anger is a righteous anger directed at wickedness. Psalm 7:11 (NLT): “God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.” But we need to always remember that even His anger is motivated by love and a hope for restoration.
Because we are told in the Word that we were created in the image of God and we have and experience a range of emotions, I believe there is no doubt that our God has all the same emotions that we experience.
He weeps: Jeremiah 14:17a (NLT) – God speaking to Jeremiah said: “‘Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: ‘Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping…’” John 11:35 (NLT): “Then Jesus wept.”
He grieves: God the Father grieved: Genesis 6:5-6 (NKJV): “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” God the Holy Spirit grieved: Isaiah 63:10a (NLT): “But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit…” God the Son grieved: Isaiah 53:3a (NLT): “He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…”
He laughs: Psalm 37:13 (NIV): “…the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.” (Yes, this example of God laughing is a laugh of derision, but it is a laugh nonetheless.)
There are those that point out that there are no specific scriptural references to Jesus smiling or laughing, but let us just look at some scriptures that can hopefully clear up any doubt that He did indeed smile and laugh during His time on earth.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4 (NIV): “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” and “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
If God says there is a time to laugh, then why would anyone ever assume that Jesus never laughed? Yes, He had heavy burdens to carry on Himself during his life, but could you seriously imagine that He lived His entire life never smiling or laughing? That as a child, there were never any fun times that would cause Him to laugh? No, I cannot either. How could He be our source of joy, sing over us, dance over us and never crack a smile or enjoy laughing?
Job 8:21 (NIV): “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT): “And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!’”
He dances and sings: God dances and sings with joy (Zephaniah 3:17 NASV) – “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (The Hebrew word, “rejoice” means to “spin around under violent emotion.” The phrase “rejoice over you” literally means to “dance, skip, leap, and spin in joy.” So, the latter part of this verse is more accurately translated, “He will dance over you with singing.”)
Maybe – just maybe – if we will allow ourselves to fully comprehend the God of all having, feeling and expressing all emotions, it could help us to be unafraid to easily and openly express our full range of emotions; and, would enable Him to feel and express only positive emotions as He observes our lives. Let us pray that our lives will bring the utmost joy to our heavenly Father.
[All emphasis mine]
Written by Karran Martin – July 7, 2019