Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What does He want me to sacrifice?

So, I was checking the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of his son, Isaac, today….

This has to be one of my most favorite stories of all time.
Every time I read it, I learn something, and something attracts my attention in a new way.

In short, the story starts when God makes a promise to Abraham that he will have a son in his old age.  It is very hard to believe, but God’s promise comes true.  And sure enough, Abraham and his wife, (who are both very old), have a child.  They have a son.  When the boy is older, God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son.  Abraham obediently begins to follow God’s instructions.  Pretty soon, Abraham’s son is on the altar- ready to be sacrificed, and Abraham is about to cut his son.  God calls to him and stops him.  God tells Abraham how he knows now that Abraham has faith in God, because he was willing to give up his only son.  God then blesses Abraham abundantly- more than he could ever ask or imagine.

Today, as I reviewed the story, I was again, challenged by Abraham’s faith when he and his son are on their way up the mountain and his son asks, ‘Where is the ram for the sacrifice?’  Abraham replies, ‘God will take care of it.’  I am far too often like Isaac and want to have all my ducks (rams) lined up in a row, before I even have need of them.  I am always convicted that I need to constantly remember that God WILL take care of it – just as He always has before.

But….that lesson wasn’t one I felt particularly drawn to today.

Today, I felt a question being asked of me… ‘What is God asking me to sacrifice?’

I find it very interesting that God GAVE Abraham a son.  He then tested him by asking him to give it away – seeming to take away the very promise He had given.  It must have been completely beyond comprehension for Abraham.  Yet, he had no reason to doubt God’s plans, so he obeyed.

What has God given me that perhaps he wants me to let go of?
Not necessarily to take it away from me, but to truly see my faith and dependence on Him alone – not in the good gifts he gives.

Oh, tears come to my eyes…because just in the past few days, my love for South Asia has been renewed.  My desire to live here has returned stronger than ever.  I am thrilled to be here.  I can't help but smile out loud!

I see this as a gift from God.

Yet….as the question came to me today, 'What does He want you to sacrifice, Elizabeth...'- I wondered, does he want me to sacrifice this- my passion, my love for being here?  Or at least, be willing to sacrifice it?

Or are these doubts and they really shouldn't be listened to? Or are they appropriate hesitations?

On my way back from a local lady’s house yesterday, I had the greatest joy reflecting on the evening- remembering similar moments from the past, when I used to live here- some of my most favorite memories of my whole life.

Then I had the greatest sorrow, as the thought came to me, “Who do you think you are to consider yourself able to contribute anything at all, to this country and the people that live here? What good could you do?”

I know that thought was meant to discourage me, and it did for a time.  Of course, it is also true.  I know I can only ever begin to do anything, or become someone - after I have first surrendered myself- fully aware that I am nothing without the One who has saved me.  That is true.

Yet, because He has saved me, and because He lives in me- I am worthy for whatever He calls me to.

So…that is the question.

What are you calling me to?  Show me, God.
What do you want me to do with this passion you have given?
Do you want me to sacrifice it?  What would that look like?  What does that mean?

You have called me up the mountain God, and while I ask questions, I know you will take care of the sacrifice.  I need only to reach the top!  Help me get there!

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