I remember a few years ago when my son Jeremy was fighting cancer. It was grueling fight that really took its toll physically and emotionally. I clearly remember at one point during the chemo part that I really wasn’t confident that he could make it through the punishment and strain that the chemo was putting on his body. I remember having a very candid conversation with the Lord about my son. It was emotionally exhausting and still deeply painful to think and write about today. I finally told the Lord that if it was His will for my son to die, I would really be angry and frustrated, but in the end I would still hold on to the Him in the midst of it all. I felt like that cancer journey was a major test of my faith as well as the faith of Jeremy and many other family members.
Abraham was put to a very hard test. He has a kid at 100 years of age. He’s waited and waited on the promise of a son to be fulfilled and now he is instructed to go into the mountains and sacrifice his only son to the Lord. I simply can’t wrap my head around this. I would be a blubbering idiot on the journey and at the end. Abraham fully intends to obey. There are signs leading up to the finale of the story that indicate the depth of Abraham’s faith. He tells the servants to wait at one point because he and the boy are going into the mountains to worship and “WE will come back to you”. At another point the young boy notices that they have everything for their worship and sacrifice except the animal for the offering. He asked his Dad and Abraham replies that the Lord will provide.
The altar is built and the wood is placed on it. Then the boy is bound and place on the wood. I don’t know how Abraham can do this. He pulls out the knife to kill his son and then is stopped. Check this out….
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.’
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ (Genesis 22:11-14 NIV)
This event stirs my heart deeply because I love my family deeply. I have lots of conversations with the Lord about my family. He knows how much I love them and I want to protect and provide for my family. I also hear Him telling me that nothing can come between Him and me. I do remind Him that my family is a very close second place. I’m so thankful that my son Jeremy is cancer free. I don’t have an answer for parents whose child was taken from them too early. I don’t believe that I’m more spiritual than them. I don’t know or understand how the loss of a child fits into God’s plan, but I do believe with all my heart that God takes trials and tests and turns them into incredible opportunity for growth. The bottom line is that I have to trust Him without conditional approval. This is a test that is incredibly hard and one that I don’t want to take.