This passage is, in theatrical terms, “the big reveal.” One of the strangers tells Abraham he’ll be back next year. And when he returns, he’ll see their son.
Abraham and Sarah have always wanted a son. Theirs is the aching, painful, crushing desire to have a baby boy. But now, they’re old—as in, really, really old. Not. Gonna. Happen. We all know the desire to have something in our life that we are unable to make happen. One of my life’s crushing disappointments was accepting the fact at 19 years old that I’d never be over six feet tall. Now I just tell folks that I’m 6’2″ in a 5’7″ body. Funny now, but at 19, it was crushing. At some point, we all wish for something that will never, ever happen.
Abraham and Sarah wished. And wished. But the opportunity passed. It wasn’t meant to be. Yet, when God told Abraham he would have a son, big Abe literally fell on his face laughing (previous chapter). Now Sarah hears the same prediction—and she, too, has a chuckle.
Laughter is a release valve. Sometimes laughter is only a notch away from tears. We laugh instead of cry. Abraham and Sarah have grieved the lack of a son and have shed their tears. Now, this stranger rubs it in their face—“hey, a baby is coming”—and all they know to do is laugh.
Laughter is one of our gifts from God. But sometimes laugher is just a salve for our disappointment. A baby. Sure…that’s going to happen. Ha!
Sometimes the news is just too much to take—so we laugh.
When the news is too much to bear—whether it’s good, bad, or simply unfathomable—what’s your reaction?
God, when I can’t believe, and I laugh—forgive me. When I do believe, and
I laugh—laugh with me. When I have no idea what to believe—thank you for not laughing at me. Amen.