For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Have you ever wondered what providence is?
If you look it up in the dictionary it simply says; the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power. In a more biblical sense then, providence is one of the ways that God protects us. I like to think of providence as God orchestrating certain circumstances in our lives to protect us and to enable His plans to come to fruition. God’s providence doesn’t always make sense to us. Actually, it rarely makes sense to us because we don’t ever get to see the whole picture or the reason behind each circumstance we go through. often times we won’t truly understand how God’s providence protects us until later down the road.
What is God’s providence to you? I know what God’s providence has been to me. God’s providence has been my move to a new place with my family. It was a move I didn’t want to take. I still am not 100% wanting to be here. But there were circumstances in my life that made staying where I was a dangerous place. To not move was to be putting myself in a position where temptation was easier to listen too. If stayed it would have been harder to distance myself from him and let God work in his life during this time apart. I didn’t seek out a way to get away, the answer was simply given to me. It was God’s providence in my life that the opportunity to move presented itself right when I needed it.
And this is what God’s providence is! It’s God aligning certain circumstances in our life that allow us to escape temptations and to find rest in God’s protection. It’s not something we look for but rather it’s something that finds us. It fills my heart with so much gratitude to know that God is looking out for me and caring for me. He is working in every circumstance in my life and directing me on the path that leads to his perfect protection. When God suddenly takes me down a new path, I can choose to see it as God’s providence for my life.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
So when you look at your life, where has God’s providence found you? In what ways has God lead you away or towards a certain circumstance in order to protect you? You may not see it as God’s providence just yet. It took me a while to realize that moving was God’s best way of keeping me safe during these next few months. In the moment that I made the decision to move, I simply saw it as something I needed to do, but didn’t want to do.
Just remember, God is always working for you. He makes things happen and leads us down certain paths to protect us and to make His good purposes known. You can trust him in whatever path he takes you. Hold onto God’s providence in your life and rejoice in knowing that He’s taking care of you.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Well, I have talked about Abraham, and Job, and David.
All great men of faith whose stories I found out all correlate with mine in some way. And now I want to talk about another Bible character whom I am just now finding out I have another connection with. I have been studying the book of Genesis with my bible study group (I attend an international bible study called BSF) and we are currently reading through the life of Jacob.
Jacob was Abraham’s grandson, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and a twin to his brother Esau. Jacobs story is a messy story. His family life was full of sin and issues, not much different from families today actually. Isaac favored Esau even through the Lord had said that Jacob, the younger brother, would be the one blessed. One day Isaac had the crazy idea to try and bless Esau instead of Jacob, which led to the crazy story of how Jacob deceived his own father into giving him the blessing.
Long story short, Esau wasn’t happy and Jacob was sent away in order to save his life. Jacob had to face the consequences of his sinful choices. Now he was alone and far from his home. The Bible tells us that Jacob was a home-body and that he loved his mother. Sadly, he was never going to see his mother again. I’ll pause here for a moment to say something. Sin never gives us what we want without devastating consequences. Jacob may have got the blessing, but now he was alone and fleeing for his life. Things would have been different if he trusted in God’s timing.
When we choose sin, at first it may seem okay, but sin will always come back to bite us. It’s almost scary how much my life is like a reflection of what Jacob is dealing with. In a way, I can relate to how Jacob must feel. He is alone, in a new place, and those he loves most are no longer with him. There was sin issues in the relationship I had. Even though it wasn’t my sin, but rather his sin in our relationship, it still resulted in both of us getting hurt. Now I find myself alone, in a new place, and far from the one I love, just like Jacob. In both my case and Jacobs case, it was due to sin issues in the family and relationships.
But now let’s get back to the story for some more encouraging news. While Jacob is alone and traveling to a new place he stops along the way to sleep. He lays his head on a rock and he has a dream. You probably are familiar with what he dreamed. In his dream he saw angels descending and ascending on a ladder and God was at the top of the ladder. God spoke to Jacob in that dream and told him this promise;
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
What an amazing promise this is! Jacob must have felt so encouraged after hearing God say those words. God was basically saying to Jacob that he is still with Jacob in this new place and he has a plan and a purpose for Jacob in this new place. God tells Jacob that he will bring him back to his home again when the time is right. I know that God is speaking the same promise to me in my life too. God is with me in this new place and he has a plan for me still. Even though this isn’t the place I want to be right now, I know that being here is a part of God’s plan for me and that God won’t ever leave me.
I find comfort also in the fact that God told Jacob in his dream that he would one day bring him back to the land he had left. And as we see in Jacobs story, after many years away, he eventually does return home. This is my hope too, that this promise is going to be true for me too and hopefully it won’t take as many years as it did for Jacob. Right now I don’t understand what God is doing in my life or why he took me to this new place, but I do believe that God will once again return me to the joy that I had before, whether it physically means returning to the place I left or finding a new home up here (of course I pray and long for the first option most 😉 ).
So, in conclusion, Jacobs story in Genesis gives me hope and encourages me to keep on persevering. It reminds me that even when I feel alone and am missing those whom I love, God is always with me. This story reminds me that God has a purpose for me while I am in this new place and in his perfect timing and perfect way, he will bring me back to the place where my heart longs to be. I can rest in God during this season of waiting and be confident that God is always working things out for my good.
I was having my quiet time with God in the morning with my coffee. I’ve been reading from a devotional called “Embraced” by Lysa Terkeurst. The devotion for the day I read talked about the life of David. I love the story of David. His story in the Bible is so encouraging, definitely one of my favorites. As I was reading the devotion though, something happened. I saw myself in the life of David! I had a rough weekend, it being Valentines week and not being able to be with my guy. So my heart was hurting and feeling a lot of pain. The correlation I was able to make with David’s life and mine was the perfect little pick-me-up for my soul. I know God loves me so much because he always shows me just the right Bible story/verse when I need them.
Anyway, like I said, I saw myself in the life of David. David was God’s chosen king for Israel. He was a man after God’s own heart. But even though David was called to such a important role in God’s kingdom, David didn’t get to be king right away. David had to wait for God’s perfect timing. And David’s life wasn’t easy while he waited. Saul threatened David many times and tried to kill David. Much of David’s life was spent in hiding from Saul. I don’t know if you ever get this vibe from reading the Bible, but it seems like God is always asking his people to wait. He takes his people through seasons of waiting before he lets them step into their calling.
Why is God constantly making his people wait? What good does waiting do for us? There are so many times in our lives that God takes us through seasons of waiting. Waiting for the right guy to come along when it feels like you’ve been single forever, waiting to have children when you have struggled long with infertility, waiting for guidance when you find your life at a crossroads. I could go on and on. I have had many season of waiting in my life and here I am in another one.
One thing I’ve learned is that waiting draws us closer to God in new ways. During the times when our hearts are breaking, God becomes our comfort. When our future’s a big looming mystery, we learn to fully trust in God as we move forward. Waiting is a time when God comes near to us and strengthens our faith. Waiting is how God prepares us for what is to come!
Let’s go back to the life of David. The rough season that David spent waiting to be king, was a what made David into the amazing king we see in the Bible. The time David spent as a shepherd taught him to lead people humbly and with devoted care. His time running from Saul made David into a warrior who relied heavily on the Lord for every move. Without the seasons of waiting, David would not have been the man after God’s own heart that we know him to be.
One more little aspect about David’s life I found encouraging, was there were two times that David had the chance to kill Saul and end his waiting. But David would not kill the Lord’s anointed. He trusted God so much that he knew in God’s timing and God’s way he would become king.
Oh wow, I just got to say, this is just so encouraging to my heart! David’s faith inspires me so much! I know that there have been times in my relationship I’ve wanted to ignore God’s voice telling me to wait and make things happen on my own. How easy it can be for us to ignore God’s call and try to make things happen in our own way. But the story of David in the Bible has showed me that a heart that is devoted to God is a heart that is fully surrendered to God and it is a heart that is willing to wait for God’s perfect timing. And it’s so encouraging to know the seasons of waiting we go through are never in vain. God is using the times of waiting in our life to prepare us for the calling he has for us in the future.
Just think for a moment of all the people you can help and encourage once you get to the other side of your waiting season. Think of how much closer and sweeter your walk with God will be because you learned to trust Him fully during this time of surrendering. No matter how hopeless you’re situation is, we have such an amazing God who is using all things for His glory and His good. Just like with David, God has a purpose for our waiting. God is going to use our time of waiting to prepare us for what comes next. In God’s perfect timing our waiting will come to an end. But until then, we need to keep trusting, keep choosing, and keep chasing after God.
Roses are red, violets are blue, God loves me and that’s all I need.
Hey, it’s Valentines day. I honestly don’t have much to say about today. I don’t want to think about this holiday much because of the sad memories and realities it brings to my hurting heart. My heart is anxious for the days when Valentines day will be a day that I can feel loved and cherished by my guy. I had no idea that when the month of love came around this year I’d be dealing with another round of hurt and heartbreak.
But enough of my melancholy chatter. Yes, I’m sad and don’t really want to do much at all to celebrate this holiday, there is one thing I can celebrate. I can celebrate God’s love for me. I know that it doesn’t matter what circumstance I find myself in, God’s love for me is always with me.
So whatever state you find yourself in today, whether in a relationship, or single, or in a complicated situation, God loves you so much and has given you the best gift ever! He gave us his Son Jesus Christ and his Word. What a loving God we have and that is something to celebrate! One thing that I have done over the years whenever I have felt down is write letters to myself from God. A couple of years ago and wrote myself a valentines letter from God to cheer up my heart. I thought I’d share it with you all today. I hope it encourages you heart today.
I love you more than you’ll ever know. Don’t let yourself feel down because you don’t have what others have. Celebrate my love for you today. I have loved you before the world even began. My love for you is forever. I will bring you all the good things your heart desires in my perfect timing. But right now, my dear one, let my love be enough for you.
I was driving in the car with my mom the other day. Just talking about some things and I was sharing about some of the hopefull news I was hearing. As we were talking my mom curiously asked if it’s possible to hope if you’ve surrendered the outcome to God. She was wondering if hoping too much could be dangerous.
Well, that question made me think, and think, and think some more. I got real quiet for the rest of the drive as I went over all the thoughts that were playing out in my mind. I finally came to a conclusion. Hoping is a good thing. The Bible never says we shouldn’t hope, rather the Bible encourages us to hope and put our hope in God. But I think that we need to be careful though about where we are placing our hope. Are we placing our hope in unrealistic fantasies and desires of our heart? Or is our hope rooted in truth and centered on a true desire to see God’s glory displayed in the outcome?
God created us to be beings who hope. When we experience rough times, what is it that gets us through it; the hope we have for better times. We are always hoping for something, and that’s the way God made us to be. But if we don’t know God then we’ll only be able to put our hope in things that don’t last. Without God this life is an endless journey from one hope to the next. When we put our hope in God, we have something solid that won’t disappoint. God is what we were created to put our hope in.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So how can it be wrong to hope? Again, it think depends a lot on the where we our putting that hope. I don’t believe it is wrong for me to hope that my relationship will be restored when that hope is rooted in desiring to see God’s glory displayed through the restoration process. But if my hope is simply rooted in my own desire to have what I want back then I should be careful. When our hope is in God’s glory being displayed in the situation, then whatever the outcome, we will be able to praise him and look forward to it. If we hope specifically for something because we want it and it ends up not being part of God’s plan, we will probably end up feeling even more hurt or upset. Hope is a good thing. But hope needs to be rooted in the only one who is good; our good God.
And then the question comes, can you surrender and still hope? I believe the answer is yes. If you truly have surrendered and have given the situation over to God, it is not wrong to desire God to use the situation to bring Him glory. If you hope for something because it will bring God glory, you can do that and still be surrendered. Because God will be faithful to take you down whichever path is going to bring Him the most glory.
So yes, it’s okay to hope. It’s okay to still be hoping for God to bring restoration and healing to our situations. It’s okay to hope for good things that will bring glory to God. But we must keep our hope fixed on God even if things don’t turn out how we want, or if the waiting takes longer, or if God doesn’t seem to answer us at all. Because we must remember that God will do what brings Him the most glory, which may not look the way we think it should look. But since our hope wasn’t in our situation, it was in God and His glory being done, we will be able to praise Him whatever happens.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame
I have been thinking a lot about the story of Job.
The story of Job is right in the middle of the Bible. It’s one of the most interesting stories in the Bible because in it we get to see behind the scenes where Satan is talking to God and this helps us understand why we go through trials. If you haven’t read the story of Job, I recommend reading it, just for curiosity sake. It’ll intrigue you.
The book of Job begins with telling us all about Job and how he was blessed beyond imagination. And he also was a man who loved and obeyed God. But then the story gets interesting as we get to see how Satan comes to God and has a request to make about Job;
6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:6-12)
Wow, Satan has noticed Jobs faith and obedience to God and Satan is so bold to say that Job only worships God so devotedly because of all the ways God has blessed him. It is a honest assumption. I could look at Jobs life and make a similar conclusion. What’s amazing is that God actually lets Satan take everything away from Job. If you keep reading you will see how one by one, Job loses everything. All his possessions and all his children, gone. And then we get to see Jobs amazing and humble response. His response to all of these hardships is;
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)
To lose everything and still be praising God, now that is a faith to aspire too. It didn’t make Satan happy. Satan went right back to God with another request. This time he asked to take away Job’s health and inflict him with diseases. And God allowed it again! Job lost his health and he became very sick with sores and boils all over his skin. Job’s own wife and his friends were even telling him to curse God. But this was his response;
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9-10)
Again, I am just overwhelmed at how Job is able to still praise God and glorify God when he lost everything. Job was a righteous man. He didn’t sin or do anything that caused him to lose all these things. He wasn’t suffering because of the consequences of sin or his choices. Job was never told the reason why God allowed him to be afflicted with so much suffering. I can’t imagine what thoughts and feelings must have been going through Jobs head. He trusted and followed God all his life and this is what God dealt him. This must have been very discouraging. Yet Job didn’t complain, he still praised God and refused to despair at his unfortunate circumstances.
What is my sufferings compared to the suffering of Job. My heartache is small and insignificant to losing everything. Yet I can’t say that my natural response has been to praise God. Like Job, I feel as if I have done all that I could to follow God and obey God. It’s always been my hearts desire to please God. I didn’t sin or do anything to deserve the pain in my life right now. I have cried out to God and asked him why. Why did he do this to me when I all I wanted to do was follow him? The biggest question that has been on my mind with my life right now is why God would let me get so close to my hearts desire and give me all these good things, like a new family whom I love dearly and a new home that I was beginning to make my own, just to take them all away. I don’t know the answer.
But like Job, I know that God truly is the one who gives and takes away. God is the one calling all the shots and He doesn’t always tell us why he does things or allows us to walk through the fire. And like Job’s story, suffering and pain is not always a result of us sinning, it happens to the most blameless of people. I think that suffering often happens to those whose faith in God is great because God wants to test their faith and show to the world how great their love and devotion is. This is what he did with Job. God knew Job was strong enough to lose everything and still praise Him. God knew that Job would be faithful to him even when his friends urged him to curse God and die. God wanted to make a spectacle of Jobs great faith for everyone to see and also to kick Satan in the back. God looked down and he counted Job worthy enough to walk through the fire. Worthy enough to suffer for the cause of God’s plan.
I can’t help but wonder, is this what God is doing with my life? When I suffer things and lose things simply because I am choosing to follow God, is it because God is counting me worthy? Have I been counted worthy enough by God to walk through the all trials he has put before me? Maybe God has given me greater pain and heartache because he knows I can take it and I can still praise him through it, like Job did. Is there a similar scene going on in heaven, with Satan and God when it comes to my life? I can’t help but get this feeling like God is using this in my life to be a spectacle to those around me, to those watching. As I walk through the fire, God is my strength, and as others are watching they will see my faith. Oh what an amazing perspective this is to have! I suffer because God has counted me worthy! I can lift up praises to my God even though my heart aches because oh what joy it gives my heart to know that God looked down and saw that I was worthy enough to walk through this hard season of waiting. This is the reason why I can praise my God during this confusing and painful time in my life!
But there also one more aspect to Jobs story that should be added before I finish. If you jump to the end of the book of Job you will get to see how God restores all of the things Job lost, and God restored it back twice as before;
the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver a and a gold ring.
12The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. (Job 42:10-12)
God never does tell Job why he went through all those trials. But after Job remained faithful to God during the hard times, God gave everything back. Just like with Job, God doesn’t tell us the why behind every trial we go through. But God promises to be with us and promises to never take us through something we can’t bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). And I also believe that just like Job, when we are faithful to God during these hard times, God will bless us beyond our imagination at the end. Even if those blessings don’t come until we are in heaven one day, it’ll be worth it. Because to be counted worthy to endure suffering and pain for following God is a reward enough in itself.
If you are enduring any form of suffering or trial, I pray that this story in the Bible can encourage your heart as much as it does mine. It is a reminder to keep on praising God, to keep on choosing God, because God is using this pain in your life for his own purposes. Even if God never tells us ‘the why’ behind the things that take place in our life, we can trust that His ways are always best. Keep on following and walking with God through your hard seasons and know that you will be blessed beyond imagining when you get to the end. Rejoice that God has counted you worthy to walk through the fire and suffer so that He might be glorified through your example.
Lastly, I again want encourage you to read the story of Job and let the story of Job’s faith encourage you. And I wanted to share my favorite verse from Job. This verse is such an encouragement to my heart that God’s ways are always best and we can trust God even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.
I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Have the lyrics to songs ever really hit you hard.
Sometimes when I’m listening to songs that I love and am familiar they take on a whole new meaning and feeling when I hear them in the midst of a trial. The other day the song “Goodness of God” came on while I was reading my bible. I couldn’t help but stop and let the words seep into my soul. I had to stop everything and worship, because this song reminded me that God is good, and he has always been good to me, and will continue to be good to me.
I had this song on repeat for most of the afternoon. I put the lyrics below because they brought so comfort to my heart. I pray they can bring joy and peace to your heart too.
I love You, Lord For Your mercy never fails me All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
I love Your voice You have led me through the fire In the darkest night You are close like no other I’ve known You as a Father I’ve known You as a Friend And I have lived in the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me Your goodness is running after It’s running after me With my life laid down I’m surrendered now I give You everything ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
What do you do when you don’t want to do anything?
When getting out of bed is hard. When the days are so long and all you want to do is forget. Forget about all the memories that just remind you of everything you don’t have anymore. When the thoughts of how to move on are so strong that you feel crushed and unable to move.
I’m sure you know pain. Maybe not the same pain I’m experiencing, but it’s some sort of pain. Maybe your pain is harder. Who am I to complain about my broken heart when I think of what you might be going through. Maybe you’ve lost someone you love and they are never coming back. Maybe you are faced with a life-threatening illness with only days to live. Maybe, like me, you have a broken heart and nothing seems to make sense anymore. I realize that I have so much to be thankful for, but right now, I just want to do nothing and sometimes I just want to cry. Whatever it is that you are going through, if you feel that way, that’s okay. It’s okay to have these days. But here’s a little something that has helped me to get through each day.
Learn to take it one day at a time.
I find that I get the most overwhelmed and scared when I let my mind think too far into the future. I think about all the ways my life is changed and how it’s no longer going where I had wanted it to go. And then if I look to the past I find regret, shame, and sadness and those feelings don’t help much either. But when I look to God and focus on just the day ahead of me I find that I am able to make it. I am still scared of the unknown road ahead of me, but I can commit to making it through one day.
And that one day will turn into two days, then three days, then four… before you know it you will be feeling less of the hurt. New doors will open and new opportunities will come. God will reveal his plan for you and fill you with his joy while you keep on following Him. And it began with you simply taking it just one day at a time. So whatever you’re facing, can you commit to just taking it one day at a time? Commit to following your sweet Saviour today, and don’t worry about tomorrow. You can worry about tomorrow when it comes.
This is what I’m going to do. Take it one day at a time.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As I was walking I was talking to God. I was thinking about all the different things my heart has been feeling these days. All the hurt, all the pain, anger, and disappointment. But I was also thinking about all the peace, wisdom, and direction I’ve received from God. I’m overwhelmed with how many people have reached out to me and lifted me up in their prayers.
I looked up into the sky and said to God that this place I’m at is hard, I don’t like it, but I know that it’s the place I need to be. Then I realized something I think is kinda cool. I’m in the middle, the middle of something great. I’m in the middle of God working his plan in my life. And even though the middle is a great place to be, the honest truth is that the middle is not fun.
Every story you hear has three parts; a beginning, a middle, and an end. The middle is often the part of the story where the conflict comes to a head. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong and hope is slim. When it comes to our story, it’s the same. Being in the middle of God’s plan is often the place where it hurts the most. It’s the dark before the sunrise. It’s the conflict before the climax. It’s where the pain may feel like it’s too much for us to bear. But if we just hold on a little longer we are just moments away from breakthrough.
I thought to myself, on my walk, “Wow, what a cool idea! I’m in the middle of God doing something great in my life!” This thought lifted my spirits and gave me strength. Yes, if God is doing something great in my life, than I can keep going. I can stay here, in the middle, a little longer, because I know that God is doing something good. I can walk through the hard days ahead, I can be at peace about being alone again, because I know I won’t be stuck in the middle forever. And these days in the middle are a necessary part of God’s plan.
I’m looking forward to that day, however far away it is, when I get to the end and get to finally see what God is doing in my life. But for now, I’m ready to learn how to be patient while I am here in the middle. If you are in a hard place, maybe this perspective can help you too. Ask God to give you the strength to make it through each day in the middle. The time we spend in waiting are times that we must endure because they are essential to God’s plan in our lives.
Embrace your life in the middle, because without these hard days in the middle, we will never get to see what God’s beautiful ending is for our story!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
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.