My son recently got a car, well, vehicle. His first one – a Ford Expedition. A big, solid, gas-guzzling SUV-type truck. We considered a fuel-efficient model but preferred something bigger and safer. Even though we had been talking about this Expedition for a week and a half, we still surprised him when we dropped it off at his work. He loved it! And even after I told him that he had to pay for gas, pitch in for insurance and make payments, he still loved it! And so begins this chapter.
I was thinking about that, this new chapter, the next day while I was putting a road-side kit together for him. This is a journey for him. As I was walking out of the store with a toolkit, jumper cables, flashlight, medicine kit and gloves, I began wondering if I’ve prepared him for this journey. Just as I knew that his roadside kit was incomplete (he needs a blanket, coat and water), I realized that these are things he’ll have to add himself. I can’t give him everything – I can just hope that I’ve taught him well enough.
Life is like that, too. When I first started reading the bible, I wondered if Abraham had thought the same of Isaac before heading into the wilderness. Had he done enough to prepare him for life? Could he have taught him more? Was he given opportunities to learn from mistakes in a safe way? You see, Isaac was beginning his journey, too. And then God called Abraham to test him:
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” (NLT)
Now I know how the story works out; know that Abraham walked in faith; know that he’d been chosen and had walked with God many years. But when I read this for the first time, I thought, ‘Oh Lord, no!’ I struggle with this even today. Parents are supposed to sacrifice for their children, right? Supposed to do anything, everything to keep them safe. The thought of harm coming to my kids hurts. I don’t want to think about it. But Abraham was obedient, even up to the last moment. His was a faith that knew some how, some way God would provide. And He did. He still does. Reading this scripture terrifies me. But then I understand – I have a greater appreciation, a greater love for the Father who would offer His Son – for me.