A Child Named Laughter
For instance, God chooses a man named Abram (which means father) as his starting point for making a new nation. This sounds like an excellent choice except that his wife is barren. And as the years go by, God’s promise is threatened even further. When God decides to give new names to the white-haired couple, the situation becomes so ironic that it reaches comedic levels. The man is now called “Father of many” (Abraham) and his wife’s new name becomes “Noblewoman” (Sarah). Each of them laugh when they’re told they’ll have a son within the next year and I can’t help but think that I would have done the same thing. The comedy reaches its apex when God tells them to name their boy “Laughter” (Isaac).
I used to think that Isaac got his name because his parents couldn’t control their giggles, but God often gives names as a testimony for what He will do. I can’t imagine Abraham laughing as he prepared to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:1-19), but perhaps it was Laughter’s name that helped the old man remember God’s promise. No matter how much our present circumstances may threaten God’s promises, they do not fully negate what He said He will do.
Many years later, a pair of unsuspecting couples would share in the laughter that comes from seeing God do the impossible. The births of John (“Jehovah is a gracious giver”) and Jesus (“Jehovah is salvation”) proved yet again that nothing is too difficult for God (Genesis 18:14).
When we witness God do the impossible, the most fitting things to do are to laugh and to worship.
Question: What has God recently done in your life that has caused you to laugh and to worship?
Keith Reed is the Associate Director of MinistryLift at MB Seminary.
[This blog originally appeared in MB Seminary's 2016 devotional called As We Wait: Advent Readings. You can download a free version of these readings by registering here.]