Hi everyone, Rob here. One of the things I love about being a dad to young children is the ready-made excuse it gives for being playful. Tickling, silly songs, funny faces, horsey rides, dance parties – you name it, we do it! Is there a greater joy in life than hearing a child laugh until they burst?
So, do you ever think of God as playful? Do you have a playful Father in Heaven? Does he make you laugh, smile or jump up and down with joy? John Eldredge does a wonderful job of describing the playfulness of Jesus in his book Beautiful Outlaw, especially after his resurrection. It’s a window into the heart of God. He really does like to have fun! You do don’t you, and whose image are you made in?
What I’ve come to understand is that, like anything that’s life-giving, we have to be intentional about being playful. It’s easy for me to stand up tall and issue orders. It’s an effort to get on the floor and get out the jigsaws and the books. There’s also a serious point about my playfulness. While it does my heart good it also feeds in love and joy to my children. It helps them to grow up feeling secure in their parents love because their parents consider it joy to come down and meet them at their level.
Playfulness is an essential part of the humanity of Jesus. He reflects the playful heart of the God who made the platypus, puppies and waterfalls. Have a read of Job 38-41 and see the absolute delight that God has in his creation. Even then, his playfulness and joy helps to restore Job’s faith in his sovereignty and goodness. Honestly, when Jesus made the equivalent of over 900 bottles of wine for the wedding at Cana (John 2), don’t you think he had a twinkle in his eye?” When he provided so many fish that the boats began to sink in Luke 5:7, you don’t think he was laughing, on the inside at least? Or after he conquered death and reappeared to the same disciples at the same lake and did the same thing again, that there was whooping and hollering? Of course! He is the God of love and a big part of love is sharing each others joy. God is the most joyful being in the universe and he likes to spread it around. He is not a grumpy old man in the sky! He is the God of sunrises and sunsets, of puppies and kittens, of waterfalls and oceans, of platypuses and monkeys, of wedding feasts and abundant harvests.
The world is at war and the enemy is out to steal our joy as Eldredge puts it, but it doesn’t change the fact that at the heart of the universe, there is a God of joy, of life, of love and he came down to us in the flesh and called himself Jesus. His beautiful, playful, intentional humanity is what reveals to us the glorious heart of God for us. Let him play in your heart this week.