The Impossible Possibility

Read: Genesis 18:1-15

Is anything too hard for the LORD? (v. 14)

God dropped by Abraham and Sarah’s place for a visit. That’s stunning. Here was God, long before the incarnation of Jesus, in human form. God is not a distant ruler or cosmic idea. God is personal, real, and present. Abraham was sitting in front of his tent in the heat of the day. Although God had promised descendants and land (and appeared twelve times promising the same thing), Abraham and Sarah had neither. Their lives were on hold.

Sarah had passed her childbearing years. So she laughed when God said she’d have a son. Laughter can mean many things including delight, amazement, and even sadness. Here, Sarah’s laughter was a combination of disbelief and dismissal. As Frederick Buechner says, “Only a fool would believe that a woman with one foot in the grave was soon going to have her other foot in the maternity ward” (Wishful Thinking, p. 25). Sarah laughed because although God said one thing, her body told her a different thing. She wasn’t exactly a model of faith—there isn’t even a “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” in this story. God’s promises were more than Sarah could accept.

The story ends without resolution—Sarah denied laughing and God said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” But we know what happens. A son, Isaac (whose name means “he laughs”), was born. God did what God was going to do because nothing is too hard for God. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, think of God’s promises.

About the Author

Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.