“And they said unto him (Abraham), ‘Where is Sarah thy wife?’ And he said, ‘Behold, in the tent.’ And he said, ‘I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah well old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
Genesis 18: 9-12
King James Version
“Sarai: Something to Laugh About.”
“Where there is laughter there is always more health than sickness.”
Do I allow the healing of laughter to fill my life?
“Laughter” – To express joy and mirth with the mouth wide open in a smile. A cause or subject for merriment.
“A good laugh is as good as a prayer sometimes.”
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Proverbs 17: 22
Supper had been served. The dishes cleaned and put away. The men-folk were out under the trees talking and Sarah had returned to her tent for her evening routine. However, she was a curious girl. She wondered, “What are those men talking about?” So she placed herself in a position to hear what was being said. And boy, oh boy, was she in for the surprise of her life. For the Lord, Himself, informed Abraham that a baby was on its way and the parents were two old folks -- Abraham and Sarah!
If I had been in Sarah’s position, I wouldn’t have laughed as the Bible states, “inside herself,” I would have laughed out loud. In fact, I think I would have laughed until I cried.
Has this ever happened to you? You start laughing so hard tears begin to pour down your cheeks. My sister and I are notorious for getting ourselves into states of convulsive laughter when we are together. More than once, our husbands have looked at us and asked, “What’s so funny?” Wrong question! That just makes us laugh all the harder. I know from personal experience, unabashed laughter can cleanse your soul.
Having been in Sarah’s position myself and being childless and sometimes having thoughtless comments hit a painful cord in my heart, I can only imagine if God walked into our home today and told Jim we were going to have a baby, the first words out of Jim’s mouth would be, “It’s not possible!”
And Sarah, listening inside the tent, “laughed inside herself” when she heard she was going to have a baby. Georgiana King wrote that, “The heart that laughs must ache,” and in the case of Sarah, I believe this to be true. Remember, Hagar had already had a son by this point in time. And Sarah, poor childless Sarah, had to watch other people’s joy instead of experiencing her own. Year after year, Sarah had asked for the promised son to cradle in her empty arms. But no baby came. As time passed, Sarah’s body changed. The Bible, in a very discreet manner, tells us that Sarah had entered menopause. Her child-bearing years were in the past. Her body had told her so. Now this – a positive pregnancy test in old age. It was a shock too great for Sarah to bear and rather than burst into tears she laughed at the incongruity of life. Things like this just didn’t happen.
All of a sudden the conversation outside the tent changed. “And the Lord said unto Abraham, ‘Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is there any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ Then Sarah denied, saying, ‘I laughed not;’ for she was afraid. And He said, ‘Nay; but thou didst laugh.’” (Genesis 18: 13-15 K.J.V.).
Now here are the two critical lessons I learned from this interaction and from Sarah’s experience:
Lesson 1: God understands and accepts our honest expression of emotion. From the beginning of the Bible, to the end, we find one story after another of real people with real problems expressing real emotions. Moses threw down the tablets of the Ten Commandments in anger when he came down from the presence of God only to find his own brother Aaron leading the children of Israel in a pagan dance around a calf of gold. Jeremiah was called a “weeping prophet” he shed so many tears over wayward Israel. David, the shepherd boy turned king, asked God to take revenge on his enemies and turn them into “dung of the earth.” A rather strong and violent request. Even Jesus, Himself, wept at the death of a friend; cried out to His Father in agony in the garden of Gethsemane; and drove money changers out of His Father’s house. Let me assure you, God can handle our emotional outbursts, be they happy or sad. In fact, it’s our honest response He longs for. There are times when I personally feel the only person in the universe capable of handling my emotions is my Heavenly Father. Sometimes we don’t want or need to burden other human beings with our pain or depression or discouragement. We don’t want to load others down with our cares. They have enough of their own. But on the flipside of the coin, sometimes our laughter and joy is just as difficult for others to handle because they may not feel like celebrating. Thankfully, my Father in heaven can handle all my expressions anytime, anywhere, any day. That’s why He invites us to “share everything” with Him.
Lesson 2: The Lord, Himself said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18: 14). In other words, “Abraham, can you think or come up with any little or big thing that I can’t do?” The answer was and is: “No!”
Is it too hard for God to repair your broken family? “No!” Is it too hard for God to give you healing? “No!” Is it too hard for God to forgive your past? “No!” And is it too hard for God to give you the child you long for, even if your name isn’t Sarah? The answer is emphatically, “No!”
I advise all of us, as daughters and sons of the Almighty God to place these words in our minds with super-glue: “Nothing is too hard for God.” These are not your pastor’s words or your parent’s words or a Bible scholar’s words. They aren’t my words put down on paper to give you false hope and some pie-in-the-sky promise. Tucked away in the book of Genesis, straight from the lips of our God, “Is anything too hard for God?” NO! NO! NO!
Tomorrow, I want to continue with today’s study. As I worked on the devotional this week, I realized there was more about Sarah than 5 days could do justice, so tomorrow we will have one more study in our series: “Sarai: Never Too Old for Pleasure.”
I encourage you today to look to heaven and laugh with joy knowing, that with total confidence, you can put your trust in God who never is baffled by our trials or our emotions, a God who can handle everything we face because with Him, nothing is impossible.
“There is a living God;
He has spoken in the Bible.
He means what He says and
will do all He has promised.”
“O One Who Laughs
at the incongruity
and human nature,
name us not Mara,
which means Bitterness,
but name every one of us
for we laugh
at the incongruity
of our frail, fallible, gullible selves.
formed in the image of You.
Laugh us to light-hearted life
in the Spirit
so that we are able to face
times of sacrifice
Sustain us in the tradition
which our matriarchs have established.
May we live by their vision
and move with their strength,
now and forever.
Miriam Therese Winter
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.