Friday, 28 October 2011
How did Abraham feel as he walked up the mountain, holding that knife in his hand? His young son walked beside him bearing the very wood that Abraham was supposed to burn him on. To say Abraham was afraid is probably an understatement. After all, he had just been given the most traumatic struggle of his life. Nothing before or after this pain could likely compare to this—this choice he had to make. Every step would have felt like trying to move legs of lead. The knife was icy cold in his trembling hand. When Isaac, his dear son, turned to him with his inquiring, innocent face and asked where the sacrifice was, Abraham felt like the knife could have been buried in his own heart. How many times did he question himself, question God? More times than he or we could count.
How many times have we climbed this mountain in our own lives? Trials weigh us down, impossible choices lie before us, and we ask God why we are facing this struggle. We question everything. Maybe all we do is ask a simple, “Why?” Why is my grandma fighting stage three cancer? Why does my brother have to hurt so much, and why can’t I do anything about it? Why do I have to face my worst fears? Why am I sick and weak when I need to be strong? Why did You bring this person into my life, God, only to take them away from me? Why did You let this happen?
It is during these times that we have to make a choice. Our “Isaac” is whatever is dear to us, whatever it feels as if God is ripping away from us. Sometimes we trust Him. We painstakingly offer up our hearts, our lives, our dearest wishes and hopes and dreams. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we have any choice in the matter anyway; God has asked us to do it, and either we run from Him and face the pain, or face it with Him. We choose whether to have faith, or whether to doubt, to be angry, to grow bitter.
Did Abraham consider running down that mountain? Countless times, just like everyone does. Some people do, and find that “Isaac” must still be sacrificed. Would Abraham rather have run that knife into his own heart than ever touch his son? Of course, but he had seen God grant him impossible promises before. Isaac himself was a miracle from God, granted when Abraham and Sarah were far too old to have a child. He knew if he trusted God, he would be blessed. God had promised him as many descendants as there were stars in the sky, and Isaac was a confirmation of that promise. Abraham didn’t know what pain would come about as a result of trusting God, or how God was going to get him out of this new tragedy in his life. He didn’t understand why God was even asking this of him. But he had faith to climb the mountain and offer up the greatest treasure of his heart.
What major sacrifices have you had to make? What big spiritual choices have you had to make? Did you run from them or did you face them?