The other night I read this passage from Genesis.
Genesis 22:1 – 20 (New Century Version)
1After these things God tested Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”
And he answered, “Here I am.”
2Then God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, the son you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Kill him there and offer him as a whole burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
3 Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took Isaac and two servants with him. After he cut the wood for the sacrifice, they went to the place God had told them to go.4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. My son and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”
6Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and gave it to his son to carry, but he himself took the knife and the fire. So he and his son went on together.
7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”
Abraham answered, “Yes, my son.”
Isaac said, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?”
8Abraham answered, “God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.”
So Abraham and his son went on together9 and came to the place God had told him about. Abraham built an altar there. He laid the wood on it and then tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the wood on the altar.10Then Abraham took his knife and was about to kill his son.
11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!”
Abraham answered, “Yes.”
12The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a male sheep caught in a bush by its horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep and killed it. He offered it as a whole burnt offering to God, and his son was saved.14So Abraham named that place The Lord Provides. Even today people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time16 and said, “The Lord says, ‘Because you did not keep back your son, your only son, from me, I make you this promise by my own name:17 I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, and they will capture the cities of their enemies.18 Through your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.’ “
At the beginning of the passage, in my mind, I was thinking, “God, let me be like Abraham and always be available to you. Let me automatically respond to you, “Lord, here I am!”.
But I have to admit that I really was thinking about saying Yes to Him in those things that make me look good, that are easy, that are feel-good experiences.
In short, I was thinking about serving God in places where I am glorified.
But as I read, it hit me that God asks me to say “here I am” for things that glorify him alone.
For things that
might be painful,
might be difficult,
might involve me giving up what I love the most on this Earth,
might be humiliating,
might be ugly,
might be terrifying.
What faith to be able to confidently say yes to God – “here I am, Lord” – even though I don’t know where it will lead. And more often than not, it will probably be difficult.
I know in my life, those difficult times have been the times when my faith has grown the most. There is actually a verse that compares adversity and affliction to bread and water for us.
Again, I am reminded that God is good, His plans for me are for good and not for harm (Jeremiah 29:11), and His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8).
And I can trust Him, no matter what.
What is God reminding you of these days?