"Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." v. 1-2
i confess that these two verses alone tempt me to question "what kind of God" would test someone in this way. but the more i learn about who God is, and understand a bit of the context of the story better, it makes more sense to me. perhaps the testing of abraham's faith was necessary, since God would honor him as the patriarch of the family line that Jesus would eventually be born from. just like the testing in our lives is necessary, as christians, in order to be strengthened in our own faith, and to be more useful in service to God.
just in these two verses alone, we see the deliberateness of God's command, and the equal deliberateness that abraham must display in order to obey: the sacrifice must be abraham's son, the son he loves. the place, mt. moriah, is a few days journey, so abraham must surely be deliberate in obeying so that he isn't tempted in not finishing the trip. and finally, the method of sacrifice God commanded was complex in how it must be followed in order to be accepted (Leviticus 1.)
amazingly enough, abraham obeys deliberately and willingly, with what had to have been complete, total trust in the Lord. and in just the right moment, God stops abraham and provides him with a ram for his sacrifice.
"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." v. 13-18
i believe that God commands us to step out on faith and part with an "isaac" at times in our lives, whatever that "isaac" represents. for me, in this season of my life, i believe he is requiring me to relinquish the life of my precious jonathan in submission to His will, for purposes we can't begin to understand. yes, jonathan with his complex heart and kidney problems, is not expected by doctors to survive long anyway without a miracle. some people might say that because we don't have a choice in jonathan's fate, then there isn't really a sacrifice to be made. however, i believe that on a much, much lesser scale than what abraham displayed, there was a still a willingness to submit in our choice to carry jonathan to full term, and a willingness to let go of those cherished hopes and dreams i have for my son to grow up and live a long, happy life, and my desire to enjoy him as my son for the rest of my life. our willingness to submit to God's will, no matter the heartbreak of what He is asking of us, is what we have to offer. it is not easy. it is a daily surrender.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." ~Psalm 51:17
i am learning, too, that when we are willing to surrender the "isaac" in our lives, God promises blessings by the thousands (v. 17-18.) it is not something He is asking us to do in vain, although we should be willing to, regardless. i believe that the ultimate representation of abraham willing to offer up his son isaac, and our (yours and mine) willingness to offer up our own "isaac" is that God willingly provided His only son Jesus as a ransom so that we may have Life...
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." ~John 10:10
i have received several comments and emails encouraging me to believe in the healing power of God for jonathan, and i appreciate them all. i must tell you, i have really thought and prayed on this. i do believe that God can heal jonathan, and i pray for this, but i think at this point, my submission to His perfect will for my life and jonathan's life outweighs my focus on his healing. perhaps His Will does include healing, if it should bring Him the most glory. either way, my desire is just to fully submit to His perfect plan, and trust that He will provide. He has greatly provided for us thus far.
"'After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised' (Heb. 6:15) and so will you. The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the precise moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing." ~FB Meyer
note: the place of Abraham's sacrifice happened on the same mt. moriah that eventually became the place where the holy temple was built. i briefly touched on this at the end of my blog "the threshing floor"...just thought it was interesting, again, how God has connected these places and events in history.