This weekend, while hosting the BIG Life Retreat in Lake Tahoe, California, I had a moment of absolute awe and wonder. There were about 12 of us gathered around a table on the top deck of a gorgeous log cabin in the tall pine trees. Sitting around this table, I listened to the stories of these women. Stories of abuse and neglect. Stories of broken marriages, hardships beyond my imagination, regretted choices, loss, tragedy and pure heartache. And yet, here they all were. Gathered around a table where God always said they belonged. Destined for this beautiful place where they would see God’s faithful hand in every detail, even when it didn’t make sense.

And to think, all along, God knew the moment would come where he would gather these precious souls together for an experience that would show them just how chosen they are. Just how redeemed they are. Just how divine God’s plans for their life have always been. And how he is providing every step of the way. And if he did it then, won’t he do it again?!!!!

Today, we will revisit the story of Abraham and Sarah. Remember, they’re the old couple way beyond child bearing years that carried a promise from God for a future family. And against all odds of possibility, and even after their own terrible choices in the wait, they have their baby boy, Issac. 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. Everyday they were waking up to the life they had prayed for. And then God asked for it back as a sacrifice. 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. And if you are, you need to understand what you will find through this test.

Genesis 22: 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? Yo, like 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. Did you hear that? GOD WILL REDEEM IT. What if she would have held on too tightly? What if she would have gotten stuck in that moment and it caused her to sacrifice what God had already aligned for her next moment? 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? And I wonder if we get so caught up in the hardship of here that we forget God has so much more for us beyond this?

God’s good plans have always been to redeem this. Yes, redeem you.

Just like the women I shared this weekend of life with at retreat had a God ordained destiny around that table, and that destiny wasn’t cancelled because of what they had gone through in the past. It was even more divine because of it! It was more profound, more powerful, and more precious, because we could see what God had done for each of us by bringing us through it to where we were sitting in that moment. A moment where we saw God’s beautiful redemption in our lives.

Sis, how tight is your grip? Yes, your grip. Your grip on what you think is all you will ever have. Your grip on what you think defines your story. Your grip on what you want. Is your grip causing you to hold back? 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? Will you trust if God takes it away, he will redeem it? Will you believe that he has a plan, and it’s a good plan? A plan to prosper you, not to harm you. A plan to give you a hope and a future. It doesn’t always feel that way in the middle of the test though does it? You just don’t know the tables he has planned for your future!

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, and he trusted. And through this trust, God stepped in. God 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”.

You need to know about this place. This place called “The Lord Will Provide.” It’s the place you find yourself when you’ve passed the test and let go. It’s the place that looks a lot like a table on the deck of a log cabin in the tall pines where you realize every thing you’ve ever gone through has brought you right here, where you belong. It’s a place where you may not understand everything, but you find peace that passes understanding. It’s a place where your find purpose in past pain. It’s a place of beautiful redemption.

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.

I don’t know what and where you’re being called to trust God with … my guess is some pretty precious things. I’m standing in this place where the Lord will provide … he has to because I can’t fix it. I don’t have the solution. It’s not for a lack of trying. What’s required here is my faithfulness. And God is asking the same of you. Will you trust him with your best?

Will you trust there are future tables for you? Will you trust God has already walked so far beyond this for you and provided precisely what you will need? And will you trust if God asks you to give it to him, he will provide! He will bring redemption.

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