ODJ: Grace to Laugh

November 13, 2016 

READ: Genesis 21:1-7 

God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me (v.6).

On New Year’s Eve, Brittany was working hard at her restaurant job when she suddenly went into labor. Her son was the first baby born in her city that year, but that wasn’t the most remarkable thing about the birth. According to Brittany, neither she nor her husband had any idea she was pregnant. The baby was a surprise!

Imagine Sarah’s surprise when she overheard one of their guests tell her husband that she would have a baby within a year (Genesis 18:1-15). The idea seemed so improbable for the old woman that she barely stifled her laughter. Despite her incredulity, the visitor affirmed the promise. Fast forward one year. Sarah was laughing with joy: “The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age” (Genesis 21:1-2). In His grace, God didn’t judge Sarah for lack of faith; instead, He magnified her laughter through Isaac’s birth.

Trials can be a drain on our faith, and we may be tempted to hold on less tightly to God’s promises in Scripture as we face difficult days. But He’s gracious and kind, telling us as He told Israel, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10).

What trials are you facing today? Consider God’s promises, such as that He’ll be “with you” and that He’ll “never abandon you” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). And whether or not God moves the way you’d choose, may you be able to say with the psalmist, “When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy” (126:1-2). May God fill your heart with grace and joy today!

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Acts 23:23-24:27

Read Luke 1:5-23 to see how Zechariah and Elizabeth reacted to the news that they would have a son in their old age. 
Do you really believe that with God nothing is impossible? How does your life reflect what you believe about that statement? How can you have joy even when God doesn’t do what you had hoped?