Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Too many Isaacs

It has been some time since I have written anything.
It is not that I have forgotten, or even been too busy.
I have been in the middle of a lesson.
To speak of lessons being learned is easier for me
when I am not at the beginning of it all.
That is to say,
I am still learning this,
but I am at a point where my understanding is bigger. 

There is a story in the first book of the Bible, 
Genesis 22,
Where God speaks to Abraham:
verse 2
 "Take your only son, Isaac, the son you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
Kill him there
and offer him as a whole burnt offering
on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Abraham proceeds to follow God's instructions
and takes his son to make a sacrifice to God.
He never tells Isaac what God asked him to sacrifice.
verse 7-8 
Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!"
Abraham answered, "Yes, my son."
Isaac said, "We have the fire and the wood,
but where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?"
Abraham answered, "God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice, my son."

When they get to the appointed mountain for the sacrifice,
Abraham ties up his son,
lays him on the alter,
and takes out his knife to sacrifice his most precious possession 
because God asked him to.
Just then,God sends an angel to stop Abraham before he kills his son.
verse 12
The angel said, "Don't  kill your son or hurt him in any way.
Now I can see that you trust God
and that you have not kept your son,
your only son, from me."
God then gives Abraham a male sheep to sacrifice in place of his son.

This past year (2012), has been all about my Isaacs.
Being asked to obey God,
bring my most precious possessions,
tie them up,
lay them on the alter,
and trust God to do what was best for me.

Hard and private lessons to be sure.
Things between me and God to show how much I trust Him.

Sometimes there is no other way...
It hurts...
It is scary...
Even when I have a track record with God.
I know
He has been
and present in my life.

So, one by one this past year,
I have taken an Isaac and laid it down.
I can't lie,
I always had hopes that He would provide another way.
Sometimes He did,
but many times He did not.

For, some of the things that He has asked me to lay down
were ultimately not good for me
and He wanted them completely out of my life.
They may have been precious to me,
but they were not to Him.    

Things like:
financial stability
perfect kids
a smaller number on the scale
complete understanding
a full nights sleep
health insurance
acceptance by others
a clean house
I could go on...

These Isaacs, were not precious to anyone but me.
And they were coming between me and my Heavenly Father.

I am learning
It hurts at first,
but there is something that happens
that can only be experienced
when I willingly leave my precious things on the alter to be burned up.

The fragrance of forgiveness, acceptance and a better way covers everything.

There are also times when I have laid an Isaac down
and God graciously allows me to keep that precious thing.
He just wanted to make sure that I fully trusted Him with everything.
Some of those things are:
My love of teaching
Good friends
My marriage
My children
The ability to finish strong where I serve at church.

I do trust Him
I will continue to learn to trust Him
as I lay down things that are precious to me.
Things like:
living near loved ones
my current church family
70 degree winters...

I know He is faithful and that He has a better way for me...
So as I tip toe into 2013
watching and waiting for His way
I pray that God will help those around me,
to lay down their precious things
with hope,
and a heart of faith,  
and that they too will trust God and His perfect ways.