Yesterday I wrote about Abraham and Sarah laughing at God Almighty’s promise they would have a child within a year. There is more than a bit of irony in laughing at God Almighty not being able to do the impossible. Today I’m writing about a pair of paradoxes. Punsters, this is not about four ducks nor four doctors.
Paradox One: When people trust that they can accomplish their plans all on their own, God laughs. Now, I recognize that I like to plan, trips, projects, programs. For me planning is as much fun as doing the plan. In Psalm 2, dignitaries from neighboring nations have gathered for the coronation of the Israel’s king. God asserts, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” But in the backrooms the visiting kings plot against the new king. The Psalmist writes, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” In Acts 4, Luke applies those words to the feeble efforts of Jewish leaders to stop Peter and John from preaching about Jesus. There is an old saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.
Paradox Two: When God plans, working through human weakness, people laugh. Abraham and Sarah are prime examples. Yet, in Gen. 21:6-7 Sarah says, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me. Who would have said…that Sarah would nurse a child?” A year before it was considered literally ridiculous which stems from the Latin word ridere, to laugh. Consider old Zechariah and Elizabeth promised a son who is John the Baptist, Elijah returned. Gabriel informs Mary she will give birth to a child who will be the Messiah, God’s Son. How could that happen since she had never had sex with a man, but the Holy One overshadowed her and impregnated her.
So, it is with our salvation. God works through the death of Jesus who died as a convicted criminal on the cross. Paul admits that its utter foolishness, laughable. Yet, like Sarah and Elizabeth, we laugh.