God of Judgement
When I was younger, my understanding of God was blurred. I never quite understood people’s desire to follow Him. We often had little street sermons (crusades), on the road and every man or woman ministering was a type of John, the Baptist- preaching the preparation of the way for THE ONE to come.
Unlike John in Mark chapter 1, speaking of Jesus coming as a Messiah to save the world, I often heard stories of Jesus coming as a thief in the night (Revelation chapter 16, verse 15) and as judge sending all who were not written in the book of life into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation chapter 21 verse 8).
Looking at God that way is scary. I do not know about anyone else. But I would not want to form a relationship with God based on fear. Do not get me wrong, Solomon did not err in his proclamation that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...” (Proverbs chapter 9, verse 10). The writer describes a kind of fear synonymous with respecting God for who He is and all He is. That is good fear.
The God that was preached then, is a God who did not laugh. A God I should be afraid of, lest I become salt like Lot’s wife, or be struck down like Goliath or the many armies who came up against the children of Israel.
I would like to believe however, that God smiles. He smiles when we finally recognize all that we are in Him. He smiles when we finally see and realize how much He loves us. He smiles when we surrender our will to His. He even smiles too when our enemies are defeated.
For many of us, Psalm 23 is probably the first chapter in the Bible that we ever knew by heart. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23 verse 1. And though this is a powerful edict of who God is: Shepherd and Father, Provider and Healer; the psalmist goes on to describe to us, a God that has a sense of humor.
Imagine God, in His infinite wisdom, could have prepared a table before us anywhere. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…” Psalm chapter 24 verse 1b, yet He chose to prepare a table for us (full of all the goodness and mercy we need) in the PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES (Psalm 23, verse 5). Now let that sink in for a minute.
Enemies are real
God knows that if an impeccable Jesus could have enemies, we would too. And so in His gracious wisdom and sense of humor, He decides that He will bless us, but He won't bless us in a corner where only those closest to us will see.
He will bless us in the presence of those who speak bad about us, wish the worst for us, try to stop us, attempt to kill us, and try to tarnish our reputation and slay our dreams. He will bless us in front of the ones who never believed in us, who tried to stifle us and did all manner of evil to us.
I used to think I could never have an enemy. Until I was an ignorant lonely immigrant in the Great North longing for a place to call home. There, the person I was closest to, turned on me. There, I realized that people are fickle, and people can switch in an instant. People can love hard, and people can hurt you and literally go out of their way to cause you shame.
I spent one year in Canada, before I was forced to return home with $100 worth of new clothes and $100 in my pocket. When my dad picked me up on arrival back to Jamaica, he said he could not let my mother see me the way I was.
Even though I got my hair done and tried to dress nicely before seeing my mom, she still cried when she saw me. I was too shattered, and she no longer recognized me because hurt and pain had damaged my anatomy.
Kintsugi, is an ancient Japanese art of mending broken objects with gold. The idea behind the art form is to teach us that if we choose to embrace our struggles and repair ourselves with love, we become more beautiful from having been broken.
In 2015, God brought me back to Canada, proudly wearing my scars like God carved them. There, he chose to bless me and prepare my feast where my enemies got a box seat view of my blessings. No doubt, he could have done it in Jamaica, but his sense of humor wouldn’t allow him to.
Father and Friend
Let me challenge you to believe this truth: God smiles. His sense of humor is also his grace and mercy perfected in our lives. His way of letting us know that he is relatable on every level.
Hebrews chapter 4 verse 15a puts it this way “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…” I dare you to see God for who he is, father and friend, kind and jovial.
Who knows? By shifting your perspective, it may cause you to be more open when you talk to him next. He’s got you. The joke’s on them.
Tamieka Pennant Dussard is a poet and writer, who has served in youth ministries mentoring young people both in Canada (current home) and Jamaica. She is the Director of “Young Wives Uncensored” a social organization which seeks to provide support and accountability to young, married women. She hopes to continue to use her gifts and experiences to motivate young people and share God with the world. She also enjoys cooking and sharing flexi-vegan recipes (IG: ltdkitchen)