One of the top ten things I absolutely love about my family is how much we laugh together. Honestly, not a day goes by when someone hasn’t said something that makes John and I chuckle. Look closely, and you’ll observe tears springing from our eyes after Micah, Caleb or Jake has slayed us with their actions or glee-inspiring words at least one time during the week. It’s great – just great!
We need to laugh.
Laughter that is hearty, gut-splitting, and tear-producing is just plain fun. And laughter is at its best when it is shared, right?
When we’ve laughed and guffawed like that such memories bring us immediately back to a more joyful time.
We need that.
Life has been pretty tough, recently. For many of us.
There honestly hasn’t been much to laugh about lately. You have your list and I have mine of a myriad of experiences which have affected us personally, impacted our family and friends, or that we have observed and read about that have inflicted some level of significant harm. Life has hurt us.
Do you ever wonder what in the world is going on and when we will ever laugh and enjoy life together again?
This got me to thinking.
When does God laugh?
What does Scripture tell us about laughter and about God?
And does laughter figure in the Word of God? Does laughter even matter?
You may be familiar with a story of laughter that a man and woman whose names were changed from Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah experienced. They were promised by God that they would birth a nation. It seemed like an inconceivable proposition to Abraham as his first response was this one:
Abraham fell face down, he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” New International Version, Genesis 17:7
It was Abraham who laughed outright. Was his response inspired by the generosity and goodness of his God or a snort and snicker of doubt and disbelief?
Here Abraham lay, prostrate before his God, positioned in humility and yet, laughing at the thought that he could father a child with his ninety year old wife. How could this be possible?
The LORD appeared to Abraham a second time and again affirmed His promise, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Genesis 18:10
This time, however, Sarah overheard the conversation. She had positioned herself just outside the tent to listen out of curiosity. Imagine her surprise as she attempted to grasp the meaning of her LORD’s words. For her? For any ninety year old woman considering child birth at such an age, what would be the natural response?
It wasn’t necessarily a loud, boisterous guffaw because, after all, she wasn’t really supposed to be standing there. Listening.
No, this was an inward laugh, to protect her position but also to acknowledge the impossibility of such a prospect.
How many times after how many years had she prayed to become pregnant?
How often had she pleaded and begged and cried to her God to give birth to a son?
How had she endured the ridicule and rejection of others who scoffed at her inability to bear a child decade after decade after decade?
She laughed, “After I am worn out and my husband is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Genesis 18:12
Of course, she laughed.
But God didn’t.
In fact, He asked 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? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:14
God didn’t laugh.
However, His words inspired this aged couple to prepare for their long-awaited prayers to be answered. Great joy and gladness would be birthed. Laughter was coming!
True to His promise, nine months later, Sarah would birth a baby boy and the child would be christened with the name, Isaac. The Hebrew name of Isaac means to laugh or he laughs and he rejoices. In response, Sarah sings, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me!” Genesis 21:6
God did not laugh.
Who did? And who would?
Sarah, Abraham, the boy named laughter, and all who would be present in their lives and the generations that would follow would enjoy a hearty, good and hopeful and hope-assured laugh at the expense of a century-old man and his ninety year old wife whose prayers were answered in such a profound way.
God may not have laughed, but it is through Him that joy and laughter precipitated in the hearts of His people!
For anything that emanates from the heart and soul is a spiritual thing. And spiritual things affect our souls, our spirits, our bodies, and our lives.
So yes, laughter is a spiritual phenomenon. For when we laugh, our joy is released!
We can see this expression of joy lived out in the lives of Abraham and Sarah – how often they must have laughed as they listened to their son. I imagine there were many happy and glorious tears that gushed from their eyes as they embraced and relished the miracle of each day together. Yes, the miracle of laughter had set their spirits free from their suffering!
All because God didn’t laugh at their pain or scoff at their doubt and disbelief. Instead, the Lord heard their cries of a life time and answered at the most beneficial moment for their heart’s delight to be most realized.
Yes, it was then that the Lord inspired Abraham and Sarah to emanate joy and to laugh long and hard with friends and family for the remainder of their days on earth. More life challenges would come of course. However, that’s just the deal on earth. Hard things happen.
Yet, we can choose to remember that in the midst of every situation in our lives is our God. He is near. He is listening and He is always reminding us that nothing, absolutely nothing is too hard for Him.
And He isn’t laughing.
This truth alone offers us comfort, peace, assurance, and joy.
In time, He wants us to laugh again and will do all that is in His power to remind us of the joy that is available to us in Him! He doesn’t laugh because He acknowledges our need and our pain and is in the process of leading us to joy and laughter again!
Yes, it’s been a difficult time.
However, there is joy ahead.
Ask the LORD for it.
He won’t laugh at you.
Instead, He will bring you comfort, cheer, and hope. And joy!
He did it for Abraham and Sarah – He can do it for you! Nothing is too hard for Him!