Lord, Teach Me to Laugh - Encouragement for Today - September 22, 2015

Ann Spangler

SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

Lord, Teach Me to Laugh

"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 18:13b-14a (NIV)

My prayer life ramped up significantly the day I became a parent.

As the single mother of two adopted children, I feel both tremendously blessed and incredibly challenged.

Like any mother, I want my teenage girls to launch well, to know that they will reach adulthood as people who can take care of themselves and relate well to others.

Because both have special needs, I’m anxious about how difficult this might be. Sometimes, in fact, I feel like one big blob of worry.

Since I adopted my children late in life, I love recalling the story of Sarah. She’s the woman in the Bible who had a baby when she was 90 years old. I love her not just because she holds the world record as the oldest woman ever to get pregnant, but because she’s so real. Like most of us, she’s a long way from perfect. Still, because of how God worked in her life, she learned that nothing is too hard for Him. Here’s a tiny window into her story:

Hers is a face that still makes men look; so beautiful it once charmed kings.

You might think her a fool for all the nonstop laughter. Her body shakes with it. But she is no fool, only a woman who can’t stop marveling at what God has done. Although her husband is more than 100 years old and she’s not far behind, she is pregnant with his child. Who wouldn’t find that funny? Two old sticks kindling a fire!

Sarah’s joy is so strong and wild that nothing can stop it. "God has brought me laughter," she says, "and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me"(Genesis 21:6, NIV). And so she named her son Isaac, which means laughter.

I love learning about Sarah because it gives me hope for the story God is telling with my life and the lives of my children. Like her, I want to become a woman who has learned to laugh, not because she’s perfect or her life is easy, but because she finally gets it — that nothing in this great big world is too hard for God.

Like Sarah, I haven’t a clue as to how the future will unfold. But instead of allowing myself to dissolve into that big blob of worry when difficulties arise, I can express the truth that God will help my children and me, regardless of whether or not He does so according to my timeline. From a practical standpoint, I’ve found my faith growing stronger as I’ve learned to fill every prayer request with praise and thanksgiving.

I expect that learning to laugh in the midst of life’s challenges will be a process rather than an event. It may take the rest of my life. But as I’ve added more praise and thanksgiving to my prayers, I’ve discovered my anxiety receding and my joy increasing.

Lord, thank You for the way You’ve surprised me with so many good things. Please help my faith to grow stronger so that regardless of circumstances, I will always find joy in You. May my laughter be like a song of praise to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 126:4-6, "Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.’ (NIV)

Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." (NIV)

Sarah was "wicked" old, but God’s promise brought her joy and laughter. Discover how the lives of the Bible’s most outrageous women can yield rich insights into God’s mercy and love with Ann Spangler’s book, Wicked Women of the Bible.

Enter to WIN a copy of Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler. In celebration of this book, Ann’s publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, September 28.}

Spend 10 minutes reflecting on the positive surprises God has brought into your life.

Sarah’s story is evidence that nothing is too hard for God. Ask God to show you one thing you can do to increase your faith in Him.

© 2015 by Ann Spangler. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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Originally published Tuesday, 22 September 2015.