People Are Stupid
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” Genesis 21:5-6
Working the Emergency Room and then Urgent Care for years, I’ve witnessed many foolish, self-inflicted injuries. It’s always tempting to laugh at the stupidity of others. For instance, many times I’ve taken care of patients who’ve suffered fall injuries off a ladder because they cut down a tree branch, knocking down the ladder upon which they were standing. I’ve laughed to myself – How dumb can you be? So, when it was my turn to cut down a tree branch, I knew better. I climbed up my ladder and got into the tree before cutting. I’m a smart one. The tree branch fell, knocking down my ladder, which left me stranded in the tree. At that point, I had no one to laugh at but myself. How do I get down?
In the arrogance of my youth, it was easier for me to laugh in derision at the stupidity of others. As I’ve grown and made a lot of foolish mistakes myself, I hope that I’m a little more gracious. Yes, people are idiots, but before I mock, I must remember that I’m one of those idiots. I’ve been the one who has caused others to shake their heads. How dumb can you be? My laughter now, is very different. I can be so dumb sometimes. I’ve often wondered if God just looks at us, laughs, and shakes his head.
Laughter is the subject of today’s passage. In it, we’re told how God provided the long-promised son, Isaac, to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac’s name means laughter, referencing Abraham’s and Sarah’s response when first told they would have a son in their old age. Abraham was shocked and Sarah didn’t believe. Both Laughed. Now, at Isaac’s birth, Sarah laughed very differently. God came through just as he promised, and Sarah had to laugh in joy, but also at her own faithlessness and foolishness. God, I think, laughed in joy with Sarah.
Does God laugh at us? I would if I were him. I don’t think he laughs at us though. I do think he must shake his head a lot. People are terribly stupid. I must remind myself daily however, that I’m one of those stupid people. My way is foolish and self-destructive. If I want to laugh in joy, like Sarah at Isaac’s birth, then I must daily follow God, who desires to laugh in joy with me in my successes, not at me in my failures.