Once, I laughed when I should have cried. I slammed the back door of our Honda minivan on my husband’s head. HARD. I felt so bad, I laughed. And then I felt really bad for laughing.
Maybe I shouldn’t laugh when I read this passage. But I do.
Read these verses in Genesis 18:10-15:
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” 13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
I love this conversation!
1) The Bible calls out Sarah for eavesdropping at the tent entrance. You would too if important strangers showed up at your door! I admit it–many times I have eavesdropped on my husband while he is having an important phone conversation about conflict at work.
2) If you have a few extra minutes, read a couple different Bible versions of Sarah’s response. You’ll laugh.
The Message Bible says, “Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”
The Amplified Bible says, “After I am aged, shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband), being old also?”
3) I can’t help but imagine Sarah putting her hand on her hip and shaking her head, “Oh no, I didn’t. I didn’t laugh.” And God doing the same and nodding his head, “Oh yes you did. You laughed.”
4) Why did Sarah feel compelled to lie? Why didn’t she just say, “You bet your cowboy boots, I am laughing. This is crazy talk, God. Push the cray-cray button!” But she didn’t say that. Instead, she lies. After years of hiding the pain of infertility, she is out of touch with how she really feels.
I guess I laugh because I relate. I get like that too. Instead of allowing myself to feel what I truly feel, I pull inward. I close up. I build a wall. I paste on my happy face. I get completely out of touch with my true feelings, fears, thoughts.
So maybe I should be crying instead. Like Sarah, am I lying to God too? And myself? At some level, Sarah must have felt that she couldn’t trust God (or herself) with her true feelings. Weirdly, we’re all kind of like that. However, if I can’t trust God with my feelings–if I lie to myself and Him–I am in danger of becoming a real fake. And I don’t want to find myself there.