Abraham . . . 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?” . . . Sarah laughed. . . .
— Genesis 17:17; 18:12
Not all laughter is good medicine. There is a kind of laughter that mocks and wounds. It’s the laughter of disdain and derision. Being laughed at is no fun.
However, laughing alongside good friends can bring healing. This is a kind of joyful laughter that accompanies celebrations: the laughter of wonder, amusement, and amazement.
On two different occasions, we read of laughter breaking out after God’s announcement that a child would be born to aged Sarah and Abraham. In Genesis 17, we read that Abraham laughs, and in the next chapter Sarah laughs too. This was a laughter of astonishment and amazement mingled with a hint of disbelief. They weren’t necessarily laughing at God, but more at a plan that seemed so implausible. God had been faithful to them, but they weren’t quite sure they believed God would do the impossible. But then the child of promise was eventually born the next year, and they named him Isaac, meaning “laughter” (Genesis 21:1-7). Their laughter of doubt was transformed into a laughter of celebration and praise.
Where do you see God at work in astonishing ways today? Consider how this can bring a sense of joy and celebration to people around you.
God of amazing grace and joy, cast out our doubts and fears. Turn our mourning into dancing, our weeping into laughter. Help us to trust that you will make all things new. Amen.