Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do almost anything to get it?
Apart from being a criminal I mean.
Maybe when you were younger, you wanted a certain toy, that you just HAD to have. Was it a bike? A doll that everyone else had (ie. you know a certain Barbie or an American Girl doll), or maybe it was one of the Transformers. Quite possibly it could have been a certain game for your Xbox or Nintendo or Wii. Or if you were lucky enough to have your won DS, one of those games.
The reasons that we could not live without it were given to our parents and depending on finances, our willingness to obey them, or even their mood, would determine if we would get it or not.
But if it was around Christmas time, usually our odds increased as to whether we got it or not.
Most likely the year I would have gotten "worst parent award" was the Christmas season that we decided not to get Nintendo for our kids because we thought it would take too much time away from them "being kids". Also, to be honest, it was rather expensive and I was afraid they would notice they didn't have more gifts. Thanks be to our good friend Darrell, who was single and without nephews of his own at the time, he dropped by on Christmas Eve with a Nintendo wrapped. Not only did they get the Nintendo they wanted, but also the presents we had bought them. It would probably rank as one of their all time favorite Christmas' of childhood.
What about as we get older?
We want a boyfriend or a girlfriend.
We want friends.
We want to be accepted and liked (that is something that is in each of us, and will never change-no matter what one might say to the contrary).
We want to get into that one specific school.
And then we graduate, and we look for that one job, that will interest us, challenge us, and motivate us to want for more.
We want a spouse and that house with the white picket fence. (do those even exist anymore?).
We want children.
Sometimes we get children way too easily-ask the pregnant teen about that.
Sometimes we don't get children. Our dreams of having a child have been obliterated by infertility.
We begin to think about adoption and the exorbitant costs restrain us.
Why is it some people get what we so desperately want and we don't?
The age old questions pop into our minds. We are bombarded with thoughts of "this just isn't fair". No one said it was.
No one said life was fair.
Life is an adventure. We don't know where we are going all the time, but we keep at it; striving to make our unknown destination-even if we are so uncertain to where that might be.
What if- God asked you to go somewhere.
You had no idea where He was asking you to go, but you chose to go with Him.
This is what occurred in the life of Abraham.
God asked him to leave all that was familiar and go to a new land that He would show him.
Abraham went without question. Or so we are led to assume from the account in Genesis. He took his wife, his servants, his livestock and all his possessions and set out for what was later to be named Canaan.
Once in Canaan he had series of adventures with the people that already resided there.
One day God visited him in the form of three men (possibly a reference to the Trinity) and told him that he and his wife Sarah would have a baby this time next year. It was almost unbelievable as Abe was almost 100, and Sarah was approaching 90. (Mind you if this were to happen to me today-I would PANIC. Way too old to have a baby, to keep up with all the demands of raising children).
This was even laughable-which is exactly what Sarah did.
But sure enough, one year later, Sarah gave birth to a little boy named Isaac (his name means, he laughs).
This heir, his real heir was the joy, the delight of his father's life. It was THE ONE THING that Abraham really wanted. And God gave him the desires of both he and Sarah's heart.
Some years later, probably when Isaac was around 12 or 13 years of age, God asked Abraham to take his son to a specific mountain, and there to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering.
The Bible tells us that "early the next morning Abraham set out...".
Can you imagine what his night was like?
I believe he must have tossed and turned all night, wrestling with the constant thought of " why is God asking me to do this?". And yet Abraham went. We are told it was a 3 day trip to the mountain of Moriah. I have to think that each hour his heart weighed heavier.
When it was time to climb the mountain, he took his young son up.
Isaac, being an aware type of kid, wondered where the sacrifice was that they would burn as an offering to the LORD. And Abraham's response is "that God would provide".
What faith, what trust.
I guess that there was a few doubts as well.
But at the moment, Abraham was going to kill his precious son, God told him to stop. That there was a ram in the thickets, that should be the sacrifice. God did provide the alternative sacrifice.
The LORD was testing Abraham's obedience.
I pray He never tests my obedience like that.
I wonder if I would obey like Abe.
Oh how I want to be like Abraham. I want to obey God in all things. To be honest, I know that I don't. But it is my desire.
God asked Abraham to give Him the MOST important thing in his life. What would you do if He asked you to give up your long awaited dream?
Would you kick and scream?
Or would you obey and trust?
I'm not sure at this point in my life what is most important to me.
In years past, it would be my family and my friends.
It might have been being in ministry.
For you, it might be the idea of being married.
Or having the child you dreamed of.
It might be that you would be healthy.
The point to this story is two-fold.
Abraham was ready to offer his son as a sacrifice to God. And God actually did offer His Only Son as a sacrifice for us. The significance of there being a "ram" in the thicket to be used as a substitute, and Christ, being the spotless Lamb of God is not lost on me. Jesus Christ was our substiute. He Paid the price for all the wrong things we have ever done.
The other point to be made is that God desires our obedience. No matter what He might ask of us. Even if it means moving far away or not even that far (like Woodleaf). Even if it means giving up the job we had wanted for so long-so that He could use us somewhere else. Perhaps God might ask you to remain single; or to remain childless.
We often do not understand the ways of God.
We are baffled by what He allows to transpire.
What He wants most is for us to make Him the top billing in our lives and that often requires obedience of the very thing we do not want to do.
What happened to Abraham when he chose to obey God?
Genesis 22: 16-17 from the New Living Translation says:
"This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you."
Obedience brings blessings. Not material ones, but ones that draw us closer to God. Blessings that make us stop and be grateful for all that the Lord has done for us.
I pray that I will be obedient, even if it means giving up something I so desperately want.