The story of Abraham is a story of deep faith, trust and obedience. It is one of the hardest stories for me to wrap my mind around in the Bible. Abraham and his wife Sarah were childless throughout life. They had given up the notion of having a son after years and years of praying, trying and being disappointed. The disappointment was so overwhelming that Sarah was willing to allow Abraham to impregnate her Egyptian handmaid Hagar, who indeed delivered a son named Ishmael. I mean can you imagine wanting a son so bad you encourage your husband to sleep with another woman? I know it was a different time and place but emotions were not all that different. Later in Genesis, when Abraham was a spry 99 years old and Sarah, a modest 89 years old God visited him and told him that he was going to God’s covenant was with Abraham and that he was going to become the Father of many Nations. His covenant demanded circumcision of Abraham and his son Ismael. God told him
“I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Genesis 17: 16-17.
Can you imagine laughing in God’s face? He and Sarah were old. They had long ago given up the hope of having a son.
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
Being an obedient man Abraham went and circumcised himself and Ishmael. Being a full grown man and forcefully circumcising yourself is a pain I can’t even imagine. This man really loved God and wanted a son.
A year later Isaac was born, (although it had been 25 years since God had first promised Abraham a son). When Isaac grew to be a young boy, God tested Abraham again by telling him to take his son “who he loved” to a certain area and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Ah, thanks for everything you have done for me God but I have got it from here. Not Abraham. He was filled with sadness and grief but still obeyed God’s words without hesitation and took Isaac to the mountain. Abraham strapped the wood to his unknowing son while he carried the fire and the knife.
On the trip up:
7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
I imagined Abraham didn’t tell his son as it would scare him. I imagine Abraham was scared, so very scared. Oh, the inner turmoil that Abraham must have had going on. I would imagine the devil was whispering in his ear “to simply run. God will never find you. This is insane of God to ask this of you. Get out of here” But Abraham had complete faith that God would provide a way out and that he would not lose his son.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Imagine the relief Abraham had as he looked and saw a ram and placed it in the place of his son and sacrificed it. Abraham later called that place The Lord Will Provide.
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
In life many, if not most, people will eventually get to where Abraham was. A point where a problem or situation cannot be changed by you. The point where you realize you no longer have control. The ultimate outcome is up in the air and completely out of your hands. You have two decisions 1) to go at this without God placing your hopes in science, money, or alternate forms of hope or 2) Be like Abraham and place all of your trust in God giving everything including the ultimate outcome, good or bad, up to him.
If most of us are honest with ourselves, we would tend to admit that we love God but do not necessarily trust him. We believe that when a problem arises we are really the only ones who can do something about it. At our core is a broad belief that while God is there, and we say he is good; we feel like we are ultimately the only ones who can figure out a solution to this problem. I mean how many times have we called out to God for help and been sorely disappointed by his timing, response or complete disregard.
Tomorrow my son, Jonathan, is going into his third open heart surgery. Like Abraham, I am full of inner turmoil and scared, so very scared. My path in life has led me to choose option 2 to be like Abraham and place all my trust in God. Giving everything, including the ultimate outcome, good or bad, up to him. I love and trust you God. I know my way is not your way and I know my timing is not your timing. Tomorrow I put the wood on my son’s back and climb the mountain hoping that “the Lord Will Provide” I bring my son whom I love so much before you on the mountain asking for you to provide a way, where there is no way. Please know that I fear you Lord and I am not withholding my son from you. Please bless me like Abraham and don’t take my son from me.
Please pray for God’s will to be done through the doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses. Please pray for endurance and strength for mom and dad. Pray that we come out of this stronger as we will not be able to see each other much for the duration of Jonathan’s stay is in the hospital. Please pray for Ethan, Josiah, and Elijah’s strength as they will not be able to see their brother for possibly several weeks, until he comes home. Please pray for my sweet, sweet boy Jonathan. Pray that he knows how much I admire and love him. Pray that God has a bigger purpose than what God has done through him the past two years. Pray for his strength and endurance. Please pray that The Lord will provide.
Someone will be providing surgery updates to Jonathan’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wholeheartmiracle