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Sarah laughs

To reflect upon the challenging things that happen in our lives and how we can best deal with difficulty and challenge.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To reflect upon the challenging things that happen in our lives and how we can best deal with difficulty and challenge.

Preparation and materials

  • If possible, put up a basic tent in your assembly area, with camping equipment.
  • The story is found in Genesis 18.1ff. Abraham and Sarah are rich nomads, who left their home in the city of Ur many years before this story takes place. They have no children, despite God having promised Abraham that he would be the father of a nation.


  1. Talk with the children about the tent and camping equipment. Explain that Abraham and Sarah’s tent would have been very different; nomad’s tents are often hung with rich tapestries, with several ‘rooms’. They are pitched for a long time in the same place; nomads only move when the herds have eaten all the available grass in the area. Abraham and Sarah had lots of sheep, camels and goats.
  2. Ask the children how they know the news of the day. Then explain that for Abraham and Sarah there were no phones, newspapers, e-mails or any of the communication equipment that we rely upon. So the only way to find out what was going on was when people came by, travellers.
  3. This is the story of what happened one day when three travellers came past Abraham’s tent.

    One day, Abraham and Sarah were doing their chores when Abraham saw three people approaching the tent. Quickly Sarah went out of sight – it wasn’t the correct thing for her to meet strangers in those days. Abraham met the travellers, and invited them to eat and stay for a while.

    Now this is a hot country, with no electricity, so Abraham and Sarah don’t have a fridge or freezer to store food. They had to prepare it fresh every day. So Abraham ran and killed a calf from the flock and prepared it and roasted it – a whole calf! That would have taken hours! So while it was cooking, he sat and talked with the visitors about what was happening in the world.

    Meanwhile, Sarah ground some meal to make flour and then baked bread – again, that takes ages! But she didn’t sit and chat while it was cooking – only Abraham was allowed to sit with the guests. So Sarah listened through the side of the tent!

    When at last the meal was eaten, the three people stood up to leave. As they went, one turned and said to Abraham, ‘When I return this time next year, your wife shall have a son.’

    Now Abraham and Sarah were old. Far older than any of your teachers. Far older even than your grandparents. Far too old to have a baby.

    So Sarah laughed, behind the tent wall.

    And the man heard her, and asked to see her. Poor Sarah. She came out, and the man asked her, ‘Why did you laugh?’

    Now, sometimes, when we‘re really embarrassed, and we don’t want people to think badly about us, we say, ‘It wasn’t me.’ That’s why Sarah said, ‘I didn’t laugh.’ But the man knew she had! ‘Oh yes, you did!’ he said. And the people left.

    Now, what do you think happened? In the next year, Sarah did indeed have a baby, and he was called Isaac, which means ‘laughter’ in Abraham and Sarah’s language. God kept his promise to Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac became the father of lots of children. Today, all the people in the world who are Jewish believe that they are descended from Isaac.

Time for reflection


Think about the things that seem quite impossible for you; maybe that piece of homework, or being someone’s friend.
Perhaps you find it hard to keep your temper, or to always be truthful.
Maybe life at home isn’t easy at the moment.
Think about those things that you find so hard.
Can you take one small step to make just a small difference –
try an extra five minutes on that difficult homework,
decide that you’re going to ask that person to play with you,
learn to count to ten before you lose your temper,
make a promise to yourself that you’re going to tell the truth,
talk to someone about what’s worrying you…



Ask God to help you with the things that are so hard for you, to give you patience and the ability to work quietly towards what you need.

Dear God,

Help me to be patient, and to work at things that I find difficult.

Help me to understand when others find things difficult,

and to support them as they make difficult decisions.



‘Spirit of God’ (Come and Praise, 63)

Publication date: November 2006   (Vol.8 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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