We just returned home from our trip to Lakewood. It was enjoyable to be with Pastor Jim and Gina Brummett and the congregation of Southwest Assembly. If is always fulfilling to share God’s Word with those who are committed to Christ. I have been pleased with the strength and energy I have had today considering I missed my routine nap yesterday.
After enjoying lunch with the Brummett’s we were able to visit with Christian and Bridget and then make a trip over to Englewood to see my mom. She had some friends over to her house for lunch. At 89 she is convinced she needs to be able to prepare a meal for guests. She seemed to be doing well and was in good spirits. My mom has two other sisters older than her, one pushing 100 and the other in her early 90’s and four others who follow behind her in birth order.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” Genesis 21:6,7
As I have read the account of Abraham and Sarah, I have taken note of the references to laughter. Laughter is one of those outward responses that can have different meanings depending on the circumstances and who is doing the laughing!
1 – Laughing in disbelief
So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? Genesis 18:12,13
When Sarah heard this news her laughter may not have been an unusual response. After all, this was an outrageous event that was going to happen. It had never happened before. But when confronted about her laughter in disbelief she in her embarrassment denied it. But the Lord was going to show Himself as the One who is faithful to His Word and that for Him nothing is too difficult, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.
2 – Laughing with joy
When Sarah had a son she laughed again. This time with joy, this time in the wonder of God’s faithfulness to His promise. She invited and others to join with her in laughing with joy over God’s provision of a son. Remember, Isaac means “laughter.” Some one once described this turn of events as, “Sarah laughed, God didn’t laugh but God had the last laugh.”
3 – Laughing with scorn
Hagar was not among those women who “laughed with Sarah” over the news of son born to her. “And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.” Genesis 21:8,9 (ESV)
It is hard to know of the interaction if any between Sarah and Hagar, these two women who had borne sons to Abraham. But when a great feast was thrown for Isaac marking a significant event in his life, Sarah observed Hagar laughing in mockery.
You know that moment when you share something personal or even embarrassing and your friend laughs? They often say, “I’m not laughing at you, I am laughing with you.” I usually say, “I wasn’t laughing!” If on this occasion Sarah was laughing with joy, Hagar was not, and Sarah knew it. Sarah in her anger demanded of Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” Gen. 21:10 Can you say, “awkward!”
I am thankful that we serve a God who allows us to express our lives through laughter. Yes, sometimes it is in disbelief, sometime we laugh with others and at times we are guilty of “laughing at” others. (Like the time a friend had the bottom of his six pack of beer break and smash the entire contents. I wanted to say, “apparently God doesn’t want you to have those bottles of beer. I wasn’t sure whether to feel sorry for him or laugh. So I laughed; but at a distance!) Yet when God is the One who brings the joy of laughter into our lives, it is something different and special.
Psalms 126:1-3 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Yes there is a laughter that comes from the human heart, but the joy that comes from the Lord that brings a response of laughter is something entirely different. Sarah experienced that and we can experience it in our lives today.