“And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?” Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ ” (Genesis 18:13, 14).
Why do people laugh? Laughter is a physical reaction with rhythmical (and usually audible) contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system. But what prompts people to chuckle? Most people giggle when tickled or if they hear a funny story or joke. People might chortle when watching others laugh, or it might be a way to relieve stress. Sometimes nervous laughter happens in awkward situations.
The study of laughter is called gelotology. Researchers at the University of Maryland discovered a link between laughter and the healthy function of blood vessels. Laughing has been shown to reduce stress hormones, and it releases endorphins in the brain that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also makes our immune system stronger by enhancing T-cells in our bodies.
Why did Sarah laugh? In a very unusual situation in Scripture, the Lord personally visited Abraham and told him—while Sarah was listening from behind a tent flap—that she would have a child. The Bible says, “Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have plea- sure, my lord being old also?’ ” (Genesis 18:12).
Did Sarah know she was laughing at God? Her response was an honest reaction to the absurd possibility that she could have a child at the age of 90. But Sarah denied that she laughed, “for she was afraid” (verse 15). It must have dawned on her that these were divine visitors.
It’s refreshing to read the honest response of Sarah to the almost un- believable promise of God. It reminds us that the Lord’s plans for our lives are almost too good to be true! Maybe, as we discover the blessings God has in store for us, we should laugh with holy joy.
Lord, the wonderful things you have in store for me are beyond my imagination. Thank You for making all things possible.
For Further Study: Genesis 18:1–15; Proverbs 17:22; Ecclesiastes 3:4