The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’14Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” 21The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7, NRSV)
When have you laughed at something that you thought couldn’t happen?
Here we see a person who sees some visitors and offers them hospitality. He gave them water to wash their feet and gave them a place to rest. Then he went and enlisted the help of Sarah for bread and a servent to help prepare a calf. He then was a good Wisconsin resident and grabbed some curds and milk with the bread and calf, and the reading seems to imply that Abraham prepared it all, as he sat it before the visitors.
But the visitors had a reason for visiting. They asked Abraham who was with them alone, “Where is your wife Sarah?” Now they knew this couple well enough to know their new names God had given them. and they asked where Sarah was. Did they not know where Sarah was or was this something deeper? But Abraham says in the tent as if to possibly say where else would she be? So the visitors continue, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah laughed because she didn’t believe in her old age that she would have pleasure with her husband. She didn’t understand how this would be possible. The whole narrative here implies there is tension between Abraham and Sarah and they are not happy. The laughing is not because it is funny, the laughing is that nervous laughter of unbelief. Sarah and Abraham did not believe God could do what the visitor said.
And then when Sarah and Abraham have a son, not by miraculous ways but the way it always happens and they name him Isaac, which means laughter! Because God has brought their relationship back together and brought joy to their lives, even when we can not see it, the joy in the Lord is there.
Know that even in the darkness that the laughter will come.