I’ve been pondering and meditating on the thought, ‘what does it mean to truly place something we love on the altar’? I might really be the only one who hadn’t really ‘gotten it’ yet as far as comprehending what it means for us, but just give me a minute to explain my thoughts.
Of course, we all know where the word picture comes from: Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his one and only beloved son, knowing that he and Sarah were both far too old to have another miracle son. Yet, somehow he managed to believe God’s promise that he would have a son who’s seed would number more than the stars in the heaven and makes his way to Mount Moriah to obey God.
Recently, I re-read the book Two Tests and a Wish, because I’ve been trying to build my faith and trust in the Lord’s promises. I like the way Abraham explains it in a way that’s understandable and relatable. Of course, it wasn’t like God suddenly sprang this on Abraham either. There were years of trusting, of believing God’s Word before God could trust him with this big test. I personally think this is a key point; being willing to do what God asks of us, trusting that He knows best in every situation. Then, when things really look questionable, we’re able to take that step and obey. Abraham didn’t say it was easy. He struggled, he experienced pain that only a parent can feel.
I don’t know what I would have done in his situation, but that’s not really my point. My point is that often in my life, I’ve been asked to lay something ‘on the altar’ and give it up for the Lord. However, deep down inside myself, I often had the lurking thought that God did give Isaac back to Abraham. He laid it on the altar, but never had to kill him, he was restored and God’s promise was fulfilled. I think that too often, I’ve laid things ‘on the altar’ but then somehow waited around for God to give them back. Hoping, praying, that it would be over quickly so that the hurt would go away and God’s promises to me would be fulfilled.
But that’s not how it works, is it? Abraham had no idea God would give Isaac back, he acted on blind faith alone. I’m learning that God does repay, He does reward obedience and faith, but how He chooses to do that is entirely up to Him. Now the step is in surrendering it all up so completely that I’d be willing to never get it back in this life. Trusting God that He would fulfill His promises to me in His perfect time and way can be, at least to me, one of the hardest things to do. I have to imagine that the ‘Isaac’ is dead and gone, but God will still keep His end of the bargain and make good on all His promises in the Word. But, in letting go, in surrendering all to Him like that, there comes a peace, a certain understanding that I don’t need to understand everything, I don’t need to figure it all out and see the end from the beginning. I just need to trust. Like a child, just trust.
Like I said, I know it sounds like something I should have ‘gotten’ a long time ago, but it’s something that recently has been something I ‘relearned’ and it all makes so much sense to me now again. Maybe somewhere I had tried too hard to understand everything in the carnal or just wished so bad that things would go the way I wanted right away. That’s not learning though, that’s not going through the trial, that’s going around it, and sooner or later, I have to learn what He puts in my way and go with it and now that I think I’ve gotten the point, those things will be that much easier to deal with when they come.
Have you had any experiences along these lines? Write me, I’d like to hear from you, it builds faith to hear that others have gone through and come through similar things.