Sarah was listening at the tent entrance . . .and Sarah laughed . . .
Genesis 18:10, 12
In August 1975, three men attempted to rob the Royal Bank of Scotland at Rothesay, but, trying to push the revolving doors the wrong way, got stuck. The bank staff kindly extricated them, and, after mumbling their thanks, the robbers sheepishly left.
They returned shortly afterward to announce they were robbing the bank, and demanded five thousand pounds. The staff, still tickled by the revolving door incident, thought the robbers were pulling another practical joke, so they started laughing.
Disheartened by their laughter, the gang leader reduced his demand to five hundred pounds – and this brought a fresh roar of laughter. Nervous and confused, he reduced the demand to fifty pounds, and by this time the cashier was laughing hysterically.
Apparently to demonstrate the seriousness of their demand, one of them jumped over the counter, but fell and hurt his ankle. The other two panicked and ran . . . and got stuck in the revolving doors again.
It took a moment for the bank tellers to realize that the robbery was real.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the British occupied Boston. On January 8, 1776, officers and their ladies packed Faneuil Hall to watch a musical farce entitled The Blockade. The comedy mocked the ragtag American army. An actor, impersonating George Washington, stumbled onto the stage with an oversized wig and rusty sword.
As the comedy got off to a rollicking start, Major Thomas Knowlton and his Connecticut soldiers launched a surprise attack. Everyone in the theater, however, thought the roar of the cannon barrage outside was part of the play.
A farmer ran on stage to announce that the rebels were attacking, and the audience roared and clapped their approval. The moment became confused as it slowly dawned on everyone that the announcement of the surprise attack was genuine and not part of the farce.
Whenever God shatters our assumptions, our reactions follow a predictable process. We laugh at the incongruity of it all. Then everything grows fuzzy and confused. And finally we begin to realize God is up to something.
When God’s messengers told Abraham that Sarah was going to have a baby, she laughed. At the age of ninety, this news was way too funny. But skepticism gave way to confusion, which gave way to a growing tummy with something kicking in there.
They named the child Isaac, which means “Laughter.”
When skeptics laugh at you and mock your faith, take it as a reassuring compliment. They are acknowledging you believe something so wild, so unthinkable, that only God could pull it off.
(text copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)