I'm so thankful that God brings us together each day to explore His word! Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God has said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from the dead."
Although this seems to be a transition to tie this story into the fabric of the rest of Hebrews 11, I believe it is foundational to this summary of Abraham and Isaac's experience, along with the other elements in this chapter.
He who had embraced the promises.
Abraham so fully absorbed God's promises to him, that they shaped his life completely. By embracing the promises, he developed the foundation of faith he stood upon in this moment.
Even though Abraham was being asked to do something that seemed contrary to God's promises to him, his faith told him that this was bigger than he and bigger than he could even fathom. His faith told him that God WILL fulfill His promises, even in the midst of when it seems impossible -- even if it meant something as outlandish as raising Isaac from the dead. Abraham's faith told him that his God can do it even if his human smallness couldn't comprehend how.
I was processing this this morning as I got the kids ready for school and out the door. In fact, the morning was rather eventful, culminating in a challenging argument with my daughter that included great amounts of frustration on both ends, a feeling of hopelessness for both of us over an "unfixable" situation, and insecurity on what the next steps should be.
She even made a point to of sitting in the back seat instead of the front on the way to school in order to put as much physical distance between us as possible to match the emotional distance we both felt. I'm sure you can relate either through your own childhood or experiences with your own children, especially new teens.
What now, God?
When we got to school, I stopped just short of the drop off point and pulled into a parking spot. The physical and emotional separation was killing both of us. I invited her to come sit up; she gladly came and began to pour out her heart on the situation at hand, and others that she had been carrying in her heart. As I listened, I prayed for the words to say to her, the necessary words, the grace-filled words, the truth words, the words we needed to remember as we went through our day today.
And it clicked for me -- "By Faith" means that the hopelessness of situations in this world do not stand in the face of the promises God has given us. We can count on His grace. His mercy. His love. His redemption. Those are BIG promises.
But how are they applied to specific, seemingly "hopeless" situations?
Because we rely on those BIG promises - we embrace them and absorb them - we end up viewing situations differently. For Madison and I, it meant looking at the "worst case scenarios" of what my daughter is facing and seeing that, in reality, they are not insurmountable. And I'm just saying that because I can view it from the "parent vantage point". I truly hurt for her today and felt just as helpless that I can't fix things like I could when she was two. We were both very hopeless together. The "worst case scenarios" can certainly alter some upcoming decisions or possible pathways, but because we embrace God's Promises and by faith trust in them, we know that these scenarios will absolutely not put into danger her standing as God's Chosen and Loved.
The verses talked about how Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead "in a matter of speaking", and I experienced the same thing with my duaghter this morning "in a matter of speaking". Her outlook initially was from a poin of hopelessness (a death), but through prayer we embraced the Promises we can count on, and she came back to a place of peace where life exists. The situation isn't resolved, but we are both being stretched to believe that God can do more than we can fathom in this situation.
Living by faith is intentional, and I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit's reminder of that this morning through today's reading!
I would love to hear your thoughts. Lisa