Comic relief – this really is an essential part of the Gospel. We should learn to read the Bible with an eye toward understanding how God always gets the last laughs.
The tragic reality of what we endure is our own doing. Face this fact, we must. We are all to blame for the crashes of life we witness. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There’s none right, not a one of us.
The Bible presents with a number of stories that show us the pits – the craters we’ve dug through our failure to hear Him and heed what He has said. Shame sticks to us, as it did to Adam and Eve after they ate from the forbidden tree. But they had only begun to groan and lament their fall when there came the Voice — “Where are you?”
And this is what we see God doing again and again. He is asking us to think about where we are, especially when we’re down in the dumps. He turns sad situations on their heads. He brings dancing out of mourning. He washes tears of pain away with tears of laughter.
We flip through the first several pages of Genesis and meet Sarah. She’s 90 and likely grizzled and stuck in her barrenness. She’s never been a mom, and she stopped hoping to become one decades earlier. She’s made a dinner and sits in her tent, eavesdropping on husband Abraham as he speaks with the Lord.
“Abraham,” says the Lord. “This time next year you’ll be holding a son.”
Sarah cracks up and does her best to muffle her guffaw at something so outrageous. Even the “pleasure” of marriage had all but vanished from her life with Abraham (see Genesis 18:12). They’re old, but they’re still in the way of God, so anything’s possible.
The Great Joke
She laughed and God called her out for it. And, she promptly denied doing so – she lied with the Lord right there in front of her. I think He responded with a knowing and gentle smile.
But God made this birth happen and He brought it about in the usual manner. He gave Sarah both the bed time and the miracle baby. Once she had that boy in her arms, there was only one name to give him – Isaac, meaning laughter.Laugh along with the Lord, or be bogged down in the bitters. It’s funny and it’s foolish, so unreasonable. But if there’s faith like that of a little child alive in a heart, then everything’s possible. Click To Tweet
Comic relief from the God of all grace came to a lady long past child-bearing. The mess we humans have made of things does not stop the Lord from giving us a tickle. God put His finger on the emptiness in Sarah’s life. Her womb was made awake through Abraham’s tired and weary body.
The joy was theirs, and a great joke was played on the world, too.
Isaac was just the first laugh. This son of Sarah prefigured another miracle Son who would come to another womb in another time and place. Jesus Christ, the Savior, is introduced right away in the New Testament as “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. …” (See Matthew 1:1-2).
A virgin conceived. A Son was given. Believe it or not – this is the choice. Laugh along with the Lord, or be bogged down in the bitters. It’s funny and it’s foolish, so unreasonable. But if there’s faith like that of a little child alive in a heart, then everything’s possible.
Come to the Table
The train of tragedy can be derailed. A frightful Friday came and went. The Savior hung lifeless on the Cross. A long Sabbath followed, but then came Sunday. Now, we call that Friday of the Cross “Good” Friday.
How did this happen? A dead Man came alive, that’s how. Jesus showed up resurrected and new. Glorified and still human, alive forevermore. Laughter filled the eyes of the disciples with fresh tears that cleaned away those shed in sorrow.
Those who practice comedy as art say that making people laugh is all about timing and delivery. The surprise comes with the punch line after the comic gets us leaning and spins us with his clincher.
Laugh it up with the Lord. Impossible things happen because He works them out, in and around us. The weakened, laden with cares, the fallen, the feeble, the fractured, the fragile are invited to His feast, where places are set for them at His Marriage Supper.
Comic relief! Come to yourself like the prodigal. Get out of the pig slop and celebrate forgiveness. There’s a chuckle to enjoy, a party to join. The finishing touch is coming.
Wait for it. And be ready to laugh.