Laughter.

Bedouin_tents, Palestine 1912

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Our God delights in doing the impossible.

It seems to me that one of the reasons why God does not often operate according to my timetable is that my timetable does not require faith. My time table is reasonable… comfortable. My timetable does not cause me to rely solely on God and God alone.

Several years ago, NP was suddenly and unexpectedly out of work. We had no income, very little savings, a house we had purchased three months earlier, and a nine month old baby. At the beginning of this time we figured that we could survive financially for about three months. God provided an interview for a new position within two weeks; we rejoiced and praised Him, expecting that He would spare us from months of depleting every penny we had! …And then we waited for almost four months for that job to actually be offered to NP. God didn’t just leave us in our circumstances for a little while – He pushed us past what we could handle. Without that extra month of waiting, we never would have known what it was like to have God provide checks to cover our mortgage payments and other bills, groceries delivered in direct response to prayer, provision in so many ways. He was all we had left – and He was enough.

Those months were horrible. And delightful. We had to rely on God and God alone – and His presence in our lives was tangible.

In Genesis 17, we meet up with Abram again. When God first called him out of Ur, he was 75 years old (Genesis 12:4). Abram is now 99. He had a son through Hagar, but was still waiting for the promised son who was still yet to come. In this chapter, God reiterates the promises He had originally made to Abram, and then changes his name to Abraham which means “father of many.” But that wasn’t all.

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  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?”

Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.”

Genesis 17:15-17, 19

Abram was not alone in his laughter.

Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Genesis 18:10-12

From the time God had first promised them a son, they waited an additional twenty four years. They were not young when this journey of faith started, but God had them wait until it was utterly ridiculous to think that they would be able to have a child. Twenty-four years!

God waited until it was so obvious that this was no natural birth – this was the hand of God and God alone.

It was so unbelievable it was laughable. And so, God named this miracle child Isaac, meaning “laughter.”

God’s plans for our lives are often impossible. Laughable. They push our faith to the limits. Because His desire is not for our comfort, our happiness – He wants to make us holy and to make His name great in our lives. Have you ever laughed in delight and disbelief over God’s unexpected plan?

If you’ve missed anything in the One Summer, One Story series, you can find all the posts indexed here!

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