Fear of Laughter
Sarai expected that when her husband, Abram, had a revelation, that her life would drastically change. One day, Abram informed her that they were about to take everything they owned and begin a journey to a destination yet to be determined. “God promised that I would father a great nation.”
Sarai joined Abram without hesitation, despite a strong suspicion that if her husband would have children that she would not be the mother. She was barren and old.
In fact, Sarai seems to be more concerned than Abram with his building a family. She decided to give Hagar to her husband.
She cooperated with Abram in Egypt at great risk to herself and then willingly took the same approach and risk when they traveled through Gerar.
Abram fought a great war despite the fact that Og was waiting for an opportunity to grab Sarai for himself.
Sarai could handle anything, but nothing could prepare her for the tsunami about to flip her life.
Abraham has another vision. He tells her about circumcision.
He then tells her that God has changed his name to Abraham.
He then informs her that God has changed her name as well. Sarah it will be.
You will have a child.
I kind of laughed when God told me, so must name him Laughter.
The new Sarah, still unaccustomed to her new name, becomes a nurse.
She has been caring for all the newly circumcised males in the household and Abraham decides to sit outside the tent on a boiling hot day to wait for visitors.
Three Bedouins appear and all of a sudden her husband is healed and is running from one place to another with strength and no pain.
While she is watching all this, one of the guests asks about her by her new name, Sarah.
How does this total stranger know my new name?
Sarah then feels some internal sensations that she had not experienced in almost 45 years: she is having her period. She looks in the mirror and sees herself as if she was as a teenager.
The stranger who knew her new name predicts that she will have a baby!
This is all great but too much in too short a time.
It’s ridiculous. It’s amazing! It’s wonderful! It’s strange! Sarah laughs deep inside. Abraham laughed aloud and now they had to name their son “Laughter.” She would not laugh aloud.
It wasn’t the laughter that was an issue; it was the internal laughter:
God speaks to Abraham about changing the world, about history, covenants, destiny, circumcision, life altering instructions, and now He bothers to speak with Abraham about Sarah’s laughter! Why not speak directly to Sarah?
“I didn’t laugh!” She didn’t, at least not aloud. She was frightened to admit to her Internal laughter.
God appears to her and says, “you did laugh. I know. You laughed internally. You should have laughed aloud!”
The one second in which Sarah did not feel comfortable laughing for all to hear was a second of disconnect, a moment of being frightened to be herself. Sarah cannot afford to be frightened of her normal and perfectly reasonable reactions for one second:
Abraham and Sarah will never succeed in building Israel if they teach that a relationship with God entails hiding from ourselves.
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