I read this story again — really for the very first time — and it sets me on my heels.
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Genesis 22:2
That a father would willingly offer up his son’s life? That he would lead this one he loved with all of his paternal heart to a site set aside for worship and for sacrifice, and lay the innocent down at his Father’s feet?
How did he find the strength?
It came to me then. Not as a shout or a sudden revelation, but in a voice so clear it could not be denied.
“I ask you to do the same every day.”
In denial, I point out that I have never been tested in this way. So, God shows me the sacrifice He requires — no, deserves — because He has proved Himself worthy and trustworthy and good. And I see it there, how every day, with every breath, I’m asked to lay these sons-become-men of mine down and say
“Take them. They are yours.”
Just as He asks all of us who so blithely enter parenthood, not counting the cost in our own pain, fear and suffering, measuring only the joy of creating life in our own image. In the midst of the joy and the pain, God reminds us that He created them not for us, but for His kingdom. They are His.
I know I must lay them down, not one, not two, not even three. But four.
I am no Abraham. Many times I will commit thievery. I will pick them back up again and say:
“No. Not yet. Not today.”
In His kindness, God shows me all the ways in the past my “yes” has carried us to this place of surrender, to the altar of the world, to the knife that cuts and the blaze that burns.
God reminds me that I have all the tools for this ultimate sacrifice:
- The knowledge that from the time they could listen, I filled their hearts with the Good News.
- The weary feet to remind me that we have traveled together so far on the path God marked out for us.
- The understanding that my love for them pales beside the burning passion of He who created them — Elohim. And He who provides and meets their every need — Jehovah-Jireh.
- The assurance that He never ceases His chasing after them, eager to woo and win them.
And here, where I cannot stay and cover them, where I can no longer feed, shelter or nurture them, this is where I must finally surrender. This is where God asks me one more time to find the strength to bind them over to Him.
To sever the ties.
To finally cut the cord.
It’s then I know what I’ve known all along — that God has provided a way.
Over there, in the tangle of this crazy life waits their substitute. But this time, it’s not for me to seize the sacrifice and drag it to the altar. I would be wrong to commit the ultimate thievery — to rob them of the choice to claim for themselves this way back to their Father who waits.
If I will remove my hands.
I’m sharing this post today for Thought-Provoking Thursday at 3D Lessons for Life. Please join me there for other thoughtful posts.