Tears streamed down my face this morning as I watched this video about Abraham's test, Holy is the Lord, by folk singer Andrew Peterson.
I cried because we are, all of us, being tested, even as I sit here. We tend to want for a controlled, cushified, consumeristic--did I mention controlled?--life. But we don't get it. None of us do. We were born to be tested.
Just ask Abraham. The one God made the covenant promise to in Genesis 15. Here's a paraphrase: A son coming from your own body will be your heir [God didn't mention Abraham would struggle with infertility most of his life and be older than dirt when Isaac was born]. Look up in the sky...you can't count those stars, Abraham, my friend--but that's how many offspring or great-grandchildren I'm going to give you. I promise.
So how inconsistent, how two-faced, did that promise seem years later, when Abraham and his wife Sarah had a son in their geriatric years--and Abraham was then, quite simply, ordered by God to kill him? Insert the place right here where my heart starts hyper-ventilating. I can't help it.
This smacks of the way God gives a godly woman a husband--and that same husband dies one year later unexpectedly. Or worse yet, divorces her to be with someone different. Father, what heavenly purpose could there be in this? This is betrayal of the worst sort, when someone (anyone, really) who loves you promises you something big, gives it to you--but ultimately takes it and abandons you, carrying your dignity and heart off with them in the process.
In a very personal sense, this is how God gave me a Dad who loved me well, then allowed him to be taken at 61 years of age from cancer. Just before he would have met the godly man I waited 35 years to marry. The man he had prayed so earnestly for. My extended family met David three days after Dad passed away.
Seriously?!? That was the response of one friend who prayed so earnestly for me to find a spouse that year. She prayed specifically that Dad would meet said spouse. And in God's divine wisdom, only half of her prayers were answered affirmatively.
Will you still believe God loves you and will provide for you? Will Abraham? Will I? Because He's promised to, though all of the signs around you are screaming to the contrary.
And so Abraham walked 50 or 60 miles with young Isaac, a three-day journey that ended as they climbed Mount Moriah. Isaac was on the altar. There was wood for burning the sacrifice. A knife, even, to do the killing. Abraham's chosen son was getting suspicious. The moment of obedience had come. And...
An angel of the Lord cried out! Don't lay a hand on your boy. Don't do anything to Isaac. I see now that you fear God, because you didn't withhold what was most precious to you. And suddenly Abraham spotted a ram. The place where his life--and his faith--flashed before him would be called "The Lord Will Provide."
What will your place of testing be called? "God failed me and I deserted Him?" "Been there. Done that. Doing it my own way now?" Or will your faith be refined and purified through testing?
You may suffer losses unimaginable and people may fail you repeatedly and you may feel depressed and downcast. You may fear there is no way out. But there is, somehow. God cannot go back on His promise to love and save you and bring good out of your circumstances if you know His Son, Jesus. It's just not in His nature to do so.
I can testify, though sometimes with tears, that the Lord will provide.
"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." James 1:12, The Message
What's your current "test?" Do you believe God is providing for you? Why or why not?