Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She recently published her first book - My Best Marriage Advice. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Both Abraham and Sarah laughed when they heard God's promise of a child to them. We often hear about Sarah's laughter; rarely Abraham's.
In Genesis 17, God visited with Abraham first and made a promise to him. This was after Abram and Sarai had taken things into their own hands whereby Hagar had a son with Abram. When this visitation happened, Abram was ninety-nine years old and Ishmael, Hagar's son, was thirteen. It was in this meeting that God
changes their names to Abraham and Sarah and made the promise of offspring to Abraham. Abraham heard it first and laughed (Genesis 17:17), and said to himself, "Can a 100-year-old man bear a child?"
Sometime later when the angels visited Abraham and Sarah, she heard them talking to Abraham and mentioning that she would have a child and she laughed within herself (Genesis 18:12). This time God called out the laughter and used it to reinforce that nothing is impossible for those who believe.
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby? ’Is anything too hard for the Lord?' I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:13,14
We may laugh to ourselves in the face of the promise because we see nothing that we can hold on to. We are too old. Our time has passed. The job has disappeared. Our bodies are damaged. Our marriages seem dry. Our families are estranged. Our young adults have strayed. We feel defeated, and yet we believe. So we laugh - our first implausible act of faith.
Abraham laughed first while thinking of the possibilities. Sarah's laughter was indicative of her doubt; though she denied laughing she was not punished for laughing. From a woman's vantage point, this promise seems more implausible for Sarah than Abraham. Would her body be able to endure pregnancy during her 90s? Abraham was a man of faith but yet still a man, who was 'as good as dead.' Even so, after being circumcised, he was able to do what seemed impossible at the age of 99.
We know how the story ends. God is a keeper of promises. He made this specific promise to Abraham and Sarah, and He kept it.
At the birth of their son Isaac, Sarah can truly laugh with joy and fulfillment. And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!” Genesis 21:6,7
They both started off with the laughter of disbelief; Abraham laughed and thought he had a solution. Sarah laughed because she didn't see the possibility. The Hebrew for “and laughed” vayitzhak found in Gen. 17:17 contains the name of the promised son “Isaac” Yitzhak, v. 21 (Ligonier Ministries). God’s word may seem incredible, but it is absolutely sure. The birth of their son Isaac turned disbelief into joy.
It’s ok to laugh, but don’t stay doubtful. Believe and act in faith.
He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Luke 18:27
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. Hebrews 11:11,12
What promise did you laugh at, that fulfilled, has now brought laughter?
Scripture: Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
When I became a mother, I gained a new ability: outstretching my right hand while driving to protect those in the passenger seat. If I hit the brakes suddenly, my hand automatically extended to its full length as an act of protection. If I slid off course during bad weather, the hand stretched out as if it had a mind of its own. If I noticed that someone was driving recklessly close, my right hand reacted. Any threat of danger made the right hand respond, reinforcing the connection between my heart and my hand. But it only happened when my children were in the passenger seat. As adults, my children laugh at this memory, for they were never sure what my right hand could do. It seemed pointless to them, but to me, it was an act of protection.
Daily we encounter problems and circumstances that may challenge us, and daily God is protecting us from dangers seen and unseen. His righteous right hand is more comforting than a mother’s right hand.
Pray: Dear Lord, I’m so grateful that your right hand protects me; that you care for us and protect us in ways that we often do not comprehend. We thank you, Lord, for your capable hand.
Reflect: How do you know that God is protecting you?
This time I chose the former - to forgive and move on and as I did this, I recognized that within relationships on a regular basis we do things that require forgiveness - often. We say something that seems trivial, we ignore, we forget what was mentioned earlier, and somehow we irritate each other. It's not only with our words; sometimes we're unintentionally inconsiderate. We're not always kind to each other as we should be.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Kindness and forgiveness go hand in hand. People will offend, but we can choose to forgive. Don't hold it in until you reach the point of warped thoughts such as, I can forgive, but I won't forget - what's the point? And have you really forgiven? Forgive often and forgive soon.
Scripture: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to forgive as you forgave. Help me not to let an offense linger but to start small and forgive incrementally. May your wisdom and your love be evident as I forgive. Amen.
Reflection: Can you forgive often?