I often share the story of Abraham and Sarah, the couple in their 90’s unable to have children and then God shows up and says “ahhh, no … that’s not the way your story will end. I will give you a child and many nations will come from you.” You’re probably tired of hearing about this story at this point, so I will quickly move on to a few years later after Abraham and Sarah have their promised child. Life was now good, they have what they want. Their son Issac is growing up and he’s a good boy. He’s everything they ever imagined.
Maybe that’s where you are in your life right now. Your reality today is what you once prayed for. God has been faithful. He has provided. He has made a way when there seemed to be no way. Look around you today and I bet you’ll find answered prayer after answered prayer. Now, what if God asked you to give it all up? What if the very thing he gave you was required as sacrifice?
That’s exactly what God asked of Abraham and Sarah. This child for whom they had prayed, this miracle which God had given them, their hope and their future was now at risk.
Genesis chapter 22 in my bible is titled “Abraham Tested”. I wonder if the current chapter in your life could be titled something similar. You’re being tested.
Verses 1-2 says “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Yes, the son which Abraham had waited 100 years for, his pride and joy, his hope for the future is now being requested to be sacrificed by God. How do you even come to terms with that. What God? You want me to give up the single most precious thing you have given to me?
Now imagine being the mama in this story for a moment. Imagine looking out the kitchen window and seeing your husband gathering wood. Wood for a fire. A fire that would burn an offering to God. A sacrifice. She must have known. She must have wanted with every ounce of her to run after her husband and son as they carried the wood to a mountain to build the fire.
What a mother Sarah was. What an example for us today. She was willing to sacrifice the best she had for the greater good in full trust that God would redeem it. What if she would have held on too tightly. What if she would have done what every single one of us would want to do – go slap your husband, call him crazy, and grab your child. Then become bitter at God for even asking.
But she didn’t. She watched as they walked away carrying the wood. She trusted God would follow through with his promise to not only give them a son but build nations from them.
I wonder if we hold so tightly to that which God has given us that we restrict life from fully flowing through us. I wonder if we treasure the gift so much that the gift itself becomes more precious than the giver. I wonder if we really truly trust God with the very things which he gave us first.
How tight is your grip? Oh I must admit, I have a death grip on some gifts in my life. I cling so tightly to that which I treasure and I sometimes hold back when God is telling me to let go. I have to wonder how much bigger and more beautiful some of the things in my life could be at this point if I would have loosened my grip. Why do I have to have it my way? Is this a lack of faith?
What has God given you? Are you willing to let him fully have his way with your life and all that he has given you?
Sarah watched her husband walk off to the mountains with her only son and a stack of wood to build that fire for a burnt offering. She trusted. Abraham bound Issac and laid him on top of the wood, then God stepped in. He saw his faithfulness. Abraham passed the test. Then God provided a ram for the offering instead and Abraham called that place on the mountain “The Lord Will Provide”.
Isn’t that where you and I are standing right now? On a mountain called “The Lord Will Provide”. A place where we are being called to be faithful. A place where we must loosen our grip. A place where we must trust. And indeed a place where the Lord will provide.