Laughter, a son called
"By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was barren--
was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made
the promise" (Heb 11:11).
So the writer to the Hebrews clearly implies that Abraham was
in fact "past age" to become a father (as does Rom 4:18,19).
"Abraham fell facedown; 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?" (Gen
Is it possible that Abraham laughed, not the laughter of
doubt, but of joy and hope based on faith (Joh 8:56; Rom 4:19)? And so the
question may be one of amazed wonderment.
"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was
glad" (Joh 8:56).
Yet "against all hope", Abraham "did not waver through
unbelief". Sounds like he must have known that he, at the age of 99 or 100,
could not have children... and this despite the evident fact that his father has
fathered him at the age of 130.
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many
nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." [Gen
15:5] Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as
good as dead -- since he was about a hundred years old -- and that Sarah's womb
was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of
God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully
persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised" (Rom
My guess (and it can only be a guess) is that (1) Abraham had
experienced some debilitating disease, and/or (2) (how to put this delicately?)
he simply knew in his own personal experience what no observer could know...
that, humanly speaking, he could no longer father children. Although Abraham was
not nearly as old as his father Terah had been when he was born, still he knew
that -- as far as he was concerned -- he was "past age"!
Yet he still believed God, against all the evidence of his own
body! And the laughter (Heb "tsachaq") of Abraham and then of Sarah -- whether a
joyful or a incredulous laughter, or something of both -- found expression, when
another year rolled around, in the naming of their infant son, "Yitzhaq", Isaac,
"Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah
what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old
age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac ['Isaac'
means 'he laughs'] to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days
old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years
old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, God has brought me laughter,
and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me" (Gen
Now the birth of any child can inspire, in its parents, the
profoundest and most subtle of "laughter", the sheer joy of new life, the
miracle and wonder of God's ongoing creative process, in which even humans may
be blessed to have a part. The joy of recognition, at some level, that God has
not yet given up on the human race, since He is still allowing new "entrants"!
The joy of looking at a future, and hoping for a future, of which the newborn
may be a part.
I think something of all this was in the minds of the parents
as they looked upon their son. And they named him "Laughter". As Sarah put it,
"Everyone who hears will laugh with me!"
Can we laugh with joy that the old couple could still, by
God's grace, have a special child of promise? "Is anything too hard for the
LORD?" (Gen 18:14).
And can we laugh with joy that the young virgin could, by the
power of the Highest, conceive and bear a son who would at the same time be Son
of man and Son of God... and set the angels singing in the heavens? "For nothing
is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).
The babe in the manger in Bethlehem... his name is "Laughter"
too! We should all laugh together, in joy that God is still "creating"! In joy
that He hasn't yet given up on the human race! In joy that, through His Son, he
is still looking for new "sons" and "daughters" to be "born anew" in Him! In joy
that in times and places where no human power is sufficient, God is still
working! And in joy that God's future is -- through His Son -- bright with
So, come on, everybody. Laugh!