Thursday, January 28, 2016
A 'Not So Sweet' Bible Story
“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go...Sacrifice him there... on one of the mountains I will tell you about’...Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. ‘Stay here...while I and the boy go over there’” Genesis 22:2-5.
It is so easy to read the familiar stories of the Bible with our head instead of our heart. This passage reads like a to-do list, one void of emotions. When we drill down a little deeper using our heart instead of our head we realize what it doesn’t include. It doesn’t speak of how many times this dad stopped along the way to turn away from his son so he wouldn’t see the tears. It is silent on the topic of prayer and how with each step Abraham must have begged God to remove this cup. The passage doesn’t include how he avoided eye contact with his son so Isaac wouldn’t have to see his pain. But, human emotions are a necessary evil and inevitable when walking out our lives. What we must remember is that Abraham was obedient to God in carrying out the plan and purpose God required of him. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t suffer with every step approaching the altar. This doesn’t mean that images of a future without his son didn’t pepper his faith.
Many times obedience is drenched in sacrifice and despair. Abraham was not the only parent who had to consider life without his son. God had to briefly look away from His Son as the cross held Him. Throughout the Bible we see the anger of God, the love of God and the grieved heart of God so we know that He too experiences emotions. We do not serve a God who cannot sympathize with us, but one who has compassion for us in our suffering. We do not have a one-dimensional God who is only in ink on the pages of a book. He is a God who mourns with us, has His heart broken for us and knows how to heal any emotions we are experiencing. It is our responsibility to walk out His calling on our lives, but we can be confident that our pain is shared with our Father. When our children hurt, we hurt and when they suffer we suffer. God is no different except He has the capacity to turn that pain into purpose, and our mourning into joy. By surrendering every emotion to Him we give Him the opportunity to do the work in healing our broken hearts. He cannot heal what we do not offer.
Every story of redemption includes pain, suffering and sacrifice. While our stories end up beautiful the journey can be treacherous on the way to the destination. But we are to keep our eyes on Jesus as He leads us through this life. He alone is our anchor that holds in every storm.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Co 4:18.