God has a sense of humor.
Anyone who creates a long-necked giraffe, who stripes a horse and instills the sage grouse with the most ridiculous mating dance on the planet certainly has a sense of humor!
But Sarah wasn’t laughing when we find her in Genesis 18. She is in her 90’s. Nothing about her empty womb was funny. By the time she knows there will be no baby from her body, there is nothing humorous about her life. Hagar takes great pleasure in reminding her of what she does not have.
Then, three visitors just “happened” into the neighborhood in the middle of their wilderness. Abraham invites them to dinner, but we all know who did the cooking! Sarah, of course!
They ask Abraham about his wife. They even call her by name, which startles Abraham into realizing these are not just coincidental travelers; it was a divine encounter. Their prediction was out of this world: When we come back next year, you will have a son.
And Sarah laughed.
Of course she did. Age was not her friend. Her hair was graying. Her wrinkles had wrinkles. Her bones ached. There would be no baby from this over-used and under-productive body.
Me, pushing a baby carriage? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s a picture nobody needs to see.
However, Sarah didn’t count on the fact that God could break through the physical rhythms He had created to open what age closed. God could bring a child when all hope was gone.
Sarah laughed because she only knew one side of this equation and God was about to change the formula.
That’s when I believe God laughed. Not with twisted pleasure. Not because an old woman was pregnant. God laughed because He had done it again. Something unexpected! A dream come true for two who had stopped dreaming.
God loves surprising us. However, the more we want to control the answers we pray for, the harder it is for God to surprise us with His best plans and unexpected resources.
There was never a hiccup in God’s plan for Sarah, only in Sarah’s plan for herself.
Is that our lesson? That maybe we try too hard to control what we want or resign too quickly because we can’t make it happen? Is surrender our better option? Do we dare surrender control of what we want so that God can give us what He wants? Could we become laugh-out-loud people because we continue to be surprised by a generous Father who delights in surprising us by fulfilling our desires in unexpected ways?
Don’t ever put God in a box and say it can’t happen now.
But don’t put God in the other box where we question His character by saying “if you really wanted to, you could __________ ”and fill in the blank with the impossibility we want God to perform.
We can never control God. We were designed for obedience. When we understand that relinquishing control is the key, we recognize how God’s unfailing love will always bring more of what we need than we know to ask for. Then, we don’t just become grateful; we become giddy. Our hearts dance with joy.
And God laughs because He’s surprised us again!