Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. — Luke 6:21
And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream —
Almost-and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there.1 — John Piper
Who said, "If you're not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there"? (Hint: It wasn't Mark Twain.) It was Martin Luther.
In Heaven, I believe our joy will often erupt in laughter. When laughter is prompted by what's appropriate, God always takes pleasure in it. I think Christ will laugh with us, and his wit and fun-loving nature will be our greatest sources of endless laughter.
Where did humor originate? Not with people, angels, or Satan. God created all good things, including good humor. If God didn't have a sense of humor, human beings, as his image-bearers wouldn't either. Of course, if God didn't have a sense of humor, we probably also wouldn't have aardvarks, baboons, platypuses, and giraffes, just to name a few. You have to smile when you picture one of these, don't you?
There's nothing like the laughter of dear friends. The Bible often portrays us around the dinner table in God's coming kingdom. What sound do you hear when friends gather to eat and talk? The sound of laughter.
My wife, Nanci, loves football. She opens our home to family and friends for Monday night football. Right now there are five toddlers in the group, and they keep us laughing. If you came to our house on Monday nights, you'd hear cheers and groans for the football teams, but the dominant sound in the room, week after week, is laughter. There are stories from family and work, and heart-to-heart talks, and pausing to pray — all surrounded by laughter. God made us to laugh and to love to laugh.
The new universe will ring with laughter. Am I just speculating about this? No. I can point to Scripture worth memorizing. Jesus says, "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh" (Luke 6:21). You will laugh.
Where will we be satisfied? In Heaven. Where will we laugh? In Heaven. Can we be certain of that? Yes, because Jesus, just two verses later, tells us precisely where this promise will be fulfilled: "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven" (Luke 6:23).
Just as Jesus promises satisfaction as a reward in Heaven, he also promises laughter as a reward. Anticipating the laughter to come, Jesus says we should "leap for joy" now. Can you imagine someone leaping with joy in utter silence, without laughter? Take any group of rejoicing people, and what do you hear? Laughter. There may be hugging, backslapping, playful wrestling, singing, storytelling. But always there is laughter. It is God's gift to humanity, which will only be raised to new levels at the resurrection.
The reward of those who mourn now will be laughter later. Passages such as Luke 6 gave the early Christians strength to endure persecution in "an understanding of heaven as the compensation for lost earthly privileges."2 In early Christian Greek tradition, Easter Monday was a "day of joy and laughter," called Bright Monday. Only the followers of Christ can laugh in the face of persecution and death because they know that their present trouble isn't all there is. They know that someday they will laugh.