I like to laugh in the whole range of laughing. I like the little chuckles that I get when something is humorous. I like the spontaneous big laughs that happen from a surprising and funny experience or witty exchange. And I love the laughing that’s so massive that my belly aches and my eyes water. If you watch my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram, you have probably heard me whip out a stupid joke, something corny and groan worthy. But no matter how bad my jokes are, I still like to laugh and I’m very convinced that it’s good to laugh!
I’ve been thinking about this from what I’ve been reading in the Bible lately where God tells Abraham that he’s going to be a dad at a really old age in his life. In Genesis 17:17 we read, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’”
In addition to Abraham laughing, we also read that Sarah laughed when she received the same news. In Genesis 18:12 we read, “Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’”
And I think it’s more than a little comical that God seems to have the final laugh in this whole situation. It’s clear that Abraham and Sarah laughed at the idea that they could have a natural born son at such a late season in their lives. But I’d suggest that God has the final laugh in all of this by telling Abraham to name his son of supernatural birth, “Isaac” which means “laughter.” In Genesis 17:19 we read, “But God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’”
It’s interesting to me that the experience of laughter is such an integral concept in God’s conversations with Abraham about his offspring. If we think about it, Isaac (laughter) is an essential link in the progression for God’s plan to establish the nation of Israel. Indeed, Isaac (laughter) is literally the father of Israel (Jacob).
With this in mind, let’s be careful that we don’t minimize the importance of laughter since God gave “Laughter” to Abraham as the name for his son who was supernaturally born – Isaac. Since God chose “laughter” as the name for Abraham’s son, I’d suggest that God thinks that laughter is important. If you think about it, “laughter” is the proverbial meat in the sandwich between Abraham and Jacob/Israel. To this end, let’s consider that God values laughter and instructs Abraham and Sarah to name their child “laughter” such that every time that they call their son, they’re continually saying “laughter.”
In thinking about Abraham, Sarah and Isaac, it’s clear to me that God values laughter and wants us to have levity, joy and laughter as an integral experience in our human existence.