“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV
There is quite a lot of meaning packed into these few short lines of scripture. Abraham puts ultimate faith in God, and He shows up in a mighty way…..a story that repeats itself over and over all throughout scripture. As I meditate on this text, I first feel convicted about my own small faith and at the same time reassured by God’s faithfulness to his promises.
My initial reaction is to compare myself to Abraham. Even though I know Abraham must have been in agony, his actions show ultimate trust in God and what He had promised. He knew that if he obeyed, God would somehow make it right. And he didn’t need to know how in order to obey Him. In contrast, I find myself worry and fretting on a daily basis about almost everything. Does “so and so” like me? Is my boss happy with me? What if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if I AM sick?! Am I meeting the standard as a daughter? As a wife? As a mother?
When I’m in the midst of a tough situation where it seems like there is no solution, it is so hard for me to trust that God can work it out and that I can trust in His promises. And what beautiful promises He has made!
That His grace is sufficient for me…that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…that those who suffer, He delivers in their suffering…that if I seek I will find Him, and if I ask it will be given…that He has engraved me on the palms of His hands…that as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
I believe that this story is confirmation that God will keep his promises, even when life looks grim, and it seems like he isn’t there or that he doesn’t care. I can point to so many instances in my life where He has revealed Himself and shown me that His plans are so much better than mine. It is so easy to get lost in the details of life, and forget what the main thing is.
I find it interesting that the Bible tells us so little about the characters’ thoughts or feelings (perhaps with the exception of Job, David, and Solomon). In this story we can only guess what is going through Abraham’s mind. All we know is what he does. He obeys. Maybe these verses are teaching me that even though I may be afraid to trust, it pleases God when I obey. I can show Him I love Him by what I do and not what I feel….and that I can count on Him to take care of the rest!