God Is Playful With Us
Not only does God have loving thoughts about us, He is also playful with us. He likes surprising us. He likes giving us clues and yet still waiting to reveal what He is doing.
The obvious example is the birth of Christ. Sure now we can look back and see how all of the prophesies were fulfilled, but it seems that only the wise men won that great treasure hunt. Christ return is very similar. Jesus says here is how you will know when the time is near, but I don’t even know the exact hour.
I think Paul says it best when he says that God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). God likes to keep us on our toes. I believe He is having fun with us. Here are some quick examples:
- Jesus making a lot wine for party that already had their fill (John 2:6-10).
- Jesus walking on the water… and about passing by the disciples (Mark 6:48).
- Jesus making the soldiers fall down before they could arrest Him (John 18:4-5).
- Jesus not revealing himself on the road to Emmaus and then vanishing when they recognizes Him (Luke 24:31).
Children Like to Play
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying He carelessly messes with our minds. He is playful, and He is inviting us into His playfulness.
Remember the children were always trying to get to Jesus. They don’t gravitate to the most serious adults. They look for the fun ones that pull coins out of their ears… Jesus, of course, pull them out of fish (Matthew 17:27), which is way more fun.
Playing With My Daughter
This past weekend I was playing with my younger daughter. She was running at me knocking me over. I was grabbing her and throwing her in the air. Then she would get down, walk away, and then do it again. We were enjoying each other.
If God is our Heavenly Father, He must want to play with us in the same way. He is not trying to get us to grow up with every interaction with us. Jesus said that the greatest in the kingdom had to become like a child (Matthew 18:5) and the kingdom of God belongs to the children (Mark 10:14-15).
God Wants Us to Enjoy Life
This is going to be hard for some to wrap their minds around. God wants to have fun with us. God wants us to enjoy life. God wants us to know that the life He has for us is better than anything the world can even attempt to offer (John 10:10).
- Check out these books to for some good laughs: Between Heaven and Mirth and Laughter is the Spice of Life.
i know i sound like a spammer in saying this, but this post was exactly what i was looking for! haha i’ve been trying to think of examples of God and Jesus being playful. thanks for posting!
my favorite part: Remember the children were always trying to get to Jesus. They don’t gravitate to the most serious adults. They look for the fun ones that pull coins out of their ears… Jesus, of course, pull them out of fish (Matthew 17:27), which is way more fun.
I laughed when I wrote that too. I was planning on just stopping at the ears, but I immediately thought of the fish. I actually caught me off guard. Thanks for your comment.
thankyou for posting this i had a dream last night where i saw a young man pressing on a button to activate a fountain & next to it were the words, ‘playful prayer’.
Fun dream. Thanks for sharing.
Great post even though I am one of those who struggles to imagine God being playful but rather thinking that yes, grow up with each encounter.
Maybe I need to ask God to show me his playful side.
That’s a wonderful ask. A good father plays with his children. You’ll love it.
I really like this viewpoint of God. I never really thought of Him as playful. Actually most of the time, I thought He was rather serious most of the time. But throughout my Christian walk, I would find myself being drawn to Him when I would see either paintings of Jesus smiling (which weren’t that many) or read books (particularly ones by Max Lucado) where there would be a reiteration of a Bible story (for example the one where Jesus tells Peter to throw his fishing nets on the other side of the boat after a whole night of wasted fishing). Max Lucado would always bring up a mental visual of Jesus during such moments when Peter caught all those fish that they thought the nets would break, and how He would most likely have a beaming smile on His face.
Now, lately, I have really become curious if God is playful, and if He is, how is He playful? and is He playful with me? I actually don’t know how I came upon this curiosity, considering I never really thought about it before. But that curiosity led me to this article. Thank you for discussing this side of God. I would love to learn about it further. I have just one more question. how do you know if and when an event in the Bible can be interpreted as God’s playfulness with us? some of those examples you gave, I never would have thought of it that way without you bringing that angle to light.
It’s hard to answer how playful God is to individual people. I think He is as playful as they want to be. We are to come to Him as a little child, and children like to play. If we come to Him as an adult, I believe He respects that. Ultimately, I feel that He can’t be playful with those who are not listening to Him… otherwise we can’t understand His jokes.
We are made in His image. Anything good in us comes as a reflection of that image He has placed in us. If laughter can be good, then we must have learned it in some way from God.
As for how to interpret the Bible… well that is a whole other discussion. To the point, there are always several interpretation to the Bible, depending on who you talk to. I’m not saying you can make the Bible say what you want, but how do you choose what to believe? Everybody makes interpretations based on their view of God, themselves, and how the world works. Nobody can be completely biased. We need to slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to help us interpret the Bible. He is the One that leads us into all truth. If we are trusting in our ability to interpret the Bible, we will get it wrong.
I may have just opened up a whole bunch of more questions, but I hope overall this help.
Thanks for the comment.
Thank you for your reply. I guess I just want to know how to recognize the times when or if God is playful with me, whether it be incidents in the Bible or in my own life. I don’t want to miss anything.
I love this post. I am always looking at the lighter side of being a Christian. I grew up in a deep southern very religious church and I always wondered when do Christians have fun. I made it a point to show others that being a Christian is a lot of fun as well as work that gives us a good balance. Thanks for writing
There is so much joy is God’s kingdom!
Our God is an awesome God – He reigns!
Yes, He is!
When I read the title I thought “God…playful? Nah!” but then I saw the various scriptures you posted and couldn’t argue against that! Thanks for this lovely reminder. God bless you!
Thank you for your comment, Andrew. It is encouraging how He loves us.
God has a wonderful sense of humour, best felt when you are in conversation with him. I grew up as a Hindu in Durban, South Africa, and accepted the Lord Jesus as saviour as a teenager. I attempted to attend church but the people were heavily religious, and mean 🙂 In fact my sister and I had been given free bibles by missionaries so we just continued to read them at home. We found something must be amiss, because God as we read of Him in the Bible, was so different from “Christians”. For example He said things like “I long to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks” and also “I have loved you, says the Lord, yet you ask “how have you loved us”. Anyway, before I knew that is wasn’t “socially acceptable” to have open, honest, frank and heartfelt conversations with the Lord, I had already been having them. I ask simple questions, and wait for an answer. I also complain. sometimes, I make a joke myself. After some time, I began to realise that He is attentive to my conversation, and He speaks back in words that are formed in my heart, similar to when the Bible says “while you are still speaking, I will answer”. Sometimes my conversation changes before it’s even left my lips, because He changed my train of thought. Sometimes I feel he smiles at my childishness. I follow Bill Johnson’s teachings (USA) and Thamo Naidoo’s teachings (SA). Both lead me to the same conclusions of the highly personalised love God has for me, and for us.
Thank you for your comments. I hope you have found fellowship with others who can encourage you and are not “mean”. I love that God loves our interaction with with Him. I love that you have experienced Him in this way.
Some years ago I had trouble understanding contemplative prayer. At the time our four year old would come to bed next to me. We invariably woke up at the same time, pat eachother’s cheeks and smile. I imagined then that image of God and us. Contemplative prayer, an experience of wonder, seeking solace in the Holy One, are ways to experience this delight in God and God’s delight in us!
Jesus came to give us abundant life. Another place to look is to Creation. The art work tells us a lot about the artist. God’s Creation can inform us on so much, here included. Look at the animals! They play. Watch a duck the way it tilts its head to look at you, a dog chasing its tail. God delights in play!
An added thought: Genesis depicts us as made in God’s likeness, male and female we were created. Jesus longed to gather his chicks under his wings like a mother hen. We humbly name God knowing God is infinitely more. Perhaps we can at least attempt to or envision other facets of God. Thank you all for your insights.
Amen! Love it!
That’s awesome Liv!! I love how He reveals Himself to His children. Im also from SA but immigrated 18monyhs ago and enjoy Bill Johnson’s teachings:))
If we are created in God’s image, and have a sense of humour then God certainly has one. I experienced this very recently. I’ve been dealing with bladder cancer for the past year (an interesting journey, but surprisingly with many blessings – especially a drawing much closer to my Lord). My treatment has involved immunotherapy in which a BCG agent is instilled into my bladder through a catheter. I’ve always had an abiding fear of catheters. Before the last treatment of my second course I asked the Lord to help me deal with my fear (yes, irrational, but real to me). We got into our car with me still having that anxiety in the pit of my stomach, and absolutely no desire to go for this treatment. A CD, which I’d got from oldchristianradio.com , of Dr Al Smith was still in the player. We’d cut him in mid-song the last time we used the car. We started the motor and the first words we heard were him singing “If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere.” We both burst out in laughter as we realised that God was giving me a dose of humour, but at the same time giving me the encouragement I needed just then. I didn’t enjoy the treatment any more than usual but, boy oh boy, did the realization that He was with me make a difference! I’ve realized more than ever in this past year that God wants us to enjoy His presence and to share our lives with Him in much the same way we do with our friends and loved ones. Thanks for your blog.
Thank you so much for sharing this example. I love the encouragement it gave you that God heard your prayers and that He was with you. It is also great how He used humor to override your fears in the moment.
May God bless you with more encounters with His joy over you.
Thank you for sharing this! For the past couple of months I’ve being seeing stuff that just makes me think God must be whimsical, funny and playful. Today, for the first time I saw the picture of a water caltrop and it occurred to me that God couldn’t have created it with a straight face, He must have been laughing so hard. This article reinforces a facet of God that I’m privileged, delighted and eager to know more of!
I like this devotional. I never looked at God as a playful God. What I took to heart the most is that God wants us to enjoy life. A lot of times, I take life too seriously, I feel like I have to be perfect in everything I do, and then I become stressed. I sometimes have trouble being in the moment and enjoying life. It can be hard to do when things in life keep getting piled up, and you feel like you have so much to do. I needed to hear that God wants us to enjoy life, which makes sense because he created this world. Despite the bad things in the world, there are good things too, and we should appreciate that; that was excellent insight.
I like this illustration of God being playful. I rarely think of Him being one of us. I usually see God as Father, Guider, and Leader which He is all of these, but he also is a playful God and wants us to live in the moment. It is easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of life and forget about the day to day excitement.