Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh . . .? Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
He’s not exactly a household name today, but back in the 1980s and early 90s, Bill Hicks was a powerful presence in the world of comedy. The kind of comedy that other comedians were talking about.
His routines produced raucous laughter. His material, however, was often dark. He pushed boundaries. And he had some favorite targets. One of them was religion—Christianity in particular. At times he would select a particular teaching and then use his considerable skills to firebomb it with ridicule. Explosions of laughter typically followed.
The laughter of ridicule brings with it a curious thing. It brings with it a sense that the case is now closed, the winning argument has prevailed, and there’s nothing more to be said. Sometimes this is true. And sometimes it is not.
In Genesis chapter 18, the Lord announced to an elderly Abraham and Sarah that Sarah would be with child. Sarah’s reaction? Sarah laughed. Hers, however, was not the laughter of joy. It was the laughter of ridicule.
You and I often encounter the same thing. We don’t simply hear such laughter, however, from critics of Christianity. You and I can also hear such laughter snorting from our old sinful selves. In our heart of hearts, you and I know we have sometimes yielded to the temptation not to take our God seriously—whether it’s one of his promises or part of his will for our lives.
Thank God for Jesus. Thank God that, for all the times Satan has talked us into rolling our eyes over a truth of Scripture, Jesus, our Substitute, never did. And thank God that Jesus has taken all our sinful laughter and paid for it in full at Calvary’s cross.
Sarah’s laughter was not the closing argument. The Lord was. He fulfilled his promise to give Abraham and Sarah a child.
One more thing. Bill Hicks died of cancer in 1994. According to a close friend, there was a shock at his funeral when someone revealed that, before his death, Bill Hicks had confessed his faith in Jesus as his Savior. If that’s the case, Bill now enjoys another kind of laughter. The laughter of joy in Jesus.
Lord, fill my spirit with the laughter of joy in you. Amen.