There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must ask ourselves a question?
Do I love God enough to forsake the things that mean the most to to me and follow Him? And then after asking that question, do I have the guts enough to do what I must do to follow through in obedience?
I have been thinking of the story of Abraham… It think it’s ironic that my bible study group has been studying Genesis and we just finished up Abraham’s life. What a testimony this man of faith had. I’m thinking of the time that God asked him to take his only son, Isaac, up to the top of a mountain and to sacrifice him. Abraham must have thought this to be a weird request from God. But not once does it say in the Bible that he questioned this request from God.
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:1-3)
Abraham didn’t even hesitate. The very next day he took Isaac up the mountain with intentions to sacrifice him. I have to say, I am amazed at such faith. I wonder what Abraham must have been thinking. He must have been holding so firmly to God’s promises and the things God told him, that He was willing to do this thing. Such faith is inspiring! There was no promise Abraham would get Isaac back, but because of God’s promise to him, he must have believed that somehow, God would restore Isaac back to him.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 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.” (Genesis 22:9-12)
Abraham reached that point where he was willing. He took the step of obedience without hesitation and was about to sacrifice his son. But then God intervened and rewarded him for such great faith.
God wants to ask us that same question that he asked Abraham. I don’t know what it is in your life that you hold so dear. I know what it was for me. God desires us to give that thing over to Him, just like he asked Abraham to do. And just saying that we surrender isn’t enough. I believe that a huge step in us surrendering to Him is to follow through with a step of obedience. I can look back on my life and see that I’ve said the prayer “I surrender” over and over, but never truly taken the steps of obedience.
Today I did something hard, but I know it’s what God wanted me to do. Even though I have truly surrendered this relationship that I desire to God, I have felt like there was one more step I needed to take. I returned the ring (my engagement ring). I believe that this was my step of obedience, like Abraham. I am completely giving the future of this relationship to God. But I am encouraged in Abraham’s story, how God looked down and said to Abraham “now I know you fear the Lord.” After Abraham took that step of obedience God restored that thing that he held most dear back. Abraham passed the test.
I am not expecting God to instantly work and give me back this relationship. I have finally come to terms in my heart, that if it isn’t meant to be, than I’ll be okay. But I do know that whatever God does, he will bless me and restore joy to me, just like he did with Abraham. I have decided to believe that God has something good instore for me at the end of this hard season. And I’m grateful to be standing here knowing that God truly is more to me. Oh how I would rather hear God’s voice saying to me, “now I know you fear me, my child” than to have my relationship back. I pray each day that I will have passed the test and be able to choose Him first.
And I hope that you can find encouragement from the story of Abraham too. The next time you read the story Abraham, think about the areas in your life that God has asked you to give to him. Prayerfully consider what that step of obedience might be, and don’t be afraid to follow through. I wish I could say that I went through with obedience without hesitation, like Abraham did. But I fought hard to have my way. Still, the peace that God gives to us after we choose to surrender and obey, has been overwhelming. So, don’t worry about how difficult it will be, or how long the wait will be. Just start with choosing to take that step of obedience, that leap of faith, knowing that in due time God will restore it all back and bless you just like he did with Abraham.