Sarah’s Laughter

Hiding unseen in the tent, Sarah laughed. Angelic visitors would have been cause enough to laugh a cynical, confused, awkward laugh; however, her laugh originated from the eavesdropped announcement that she, an aged, long-disappointed, and empty-wombed woman, would finally bear a son.

While I have admittedly eavesdropped on my son’s late night conversations from top to bottom bunk, I know nothing of tents or angelic visitors. I do, however, know about Sarah’s laughter. I know about the triple pits of fear, cynicism, and self-centered self-doubt that give rise to the nervous laughter of disbelief at the Lord’s extravagant promises.

The story captured in Genesis 18 is as old as Sarah’s womb was when she heard the news. But, of late, it has taken on fresh meaning in my heart and life.

We have found ourselves asking questions and peering into the seemingly unbelievable promises of God’s provision and protection for those who step out in faith. And I have found myself joining Sarah in her laughter.

We all have seasons or scenes in our lives where we are with Sarah in her laughter. While our dubious laughter may not be about a promised son, we may repeat Sarah’s response at the thought of God’s provision of a job after a long season of unemployment, God’s promise to restore the ruinous places of generational sins in our lives, God’s ability to change a sin-hardened, addicted loved one, or myriad other scenarios.

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As we scan the horizon of our lives and the topography of our hearts, it seems impossible that God could do what He has so clearly promised. Just as Sarah’s womb showed no physical hope of housing a child, we look at the facts of our lives and the statistics around us which invite us to scoff at the seemingly sensational promises of God.

Poetry is my way of processing through my unbelief and giving the promises of God time to slowly scoot from my head to my heart.

Sarah’s Laughter

I hear your laughter, beloved,
A laughter fraught with fear. 
I’m more real than your concerns,
But come whisper them in my ear.  

I hear your laughter, beloved,
A laughter tinged with tears.
I know it is hard to risk
After the disappointed years. 

I hear your laughter, beloved,
A laughter drawn from doubt.
Looking within you find lack,
But My provision lies without. 

I hear your laughter, beloved,
A laughter broken and cynical.
Age is an assault on naivete,
But hope is never so clinical. 

A different laugh comes, beloved;
It will rise, buoyed by belief.
My sufficiency suffocates fears;
Your laugh will reflect relief.  

You can’t see it yet, beloved,
Hindered by heart’s blindness
Your future is sure as my word,
Soon you’ll recount my kindness. 

Cynicism will be upstaged by wonder.
Trust will silence the cacophony of fear. 
You’ll laugh the laughter of love
Even by this time next year,  

I don’t know where you are laughing with Sarah. I don’t know the particular places of doubt and fear that haunt your heart, but I do know that the God of Sarah sees and hears you fully, just as he did her.

In His perfect timing, your laughter shall be transformed into the laughter of wonder at the God who says to us, as He said to Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18:14). 

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