there’s no other way to start this entry than to say that this week has been an absolute blessing from the Lord. last week was probably the toughest, though, again, it wasn’t because they were bad kids. this week, though, is probably the best so far. the kids are all very sweet, the weekend was great, and tonight was just exactly what i needed. i went to bible study at tom and katrina’s, where we talked about abraham being willing to sacrifice his son isaac as a burnt offering for the Lord to show his faith. that was crazy. i’ll talk more about that in a sec. after bible study we had dinner (great soup and bread and watermelon. yum!) and a few of us stayed back to play ticket to ride (the europe version) which was a ton of fun. after that freddy, ryan and i went to walmart to get some stuff for wacky wednesday, which i’ll write about more in just a sec as well.
first, these kids. they’re just great. we have identical twins, who are loud but don’t bicker and fight. we have one especially quiet boy this week, but he’s not withdrawn or anything. just a bit timid. we have a stayover for next week, and i’m already getting to know him really well, which is cool. this is going to sound really shallow, but it’s always awesome when any kid genuinely laughs at all my lame attempts at humor, and for some reason he thinks i’m hilarious. it’s great. the rest of the kids are all really friendly and get along, which is such a relief. they’re really good at responding when gus or i are talking, and they’re all totally here for the camp experience, which is always such a cool thing. it means that even if they don’t like an activity we’re doing, they’re okay because camp is just awesome. not only are they enjoying the activities, but they’re really being respectful and participating during devotions. PLUS on monday night we got to throw in the gospel a little bit. that’s always so great, because usually it’s just the basic "don’t be mean to people and be third" stuff. but we were talking about loving our enemies, and how jesus was the perfect example because he forgave the people who crucified him. a few of the kids were legitimately shocked, and asked if we were serious. how beautiful to see the wonder of the gospel truth in the questions of a ten-year-old boy.
the Lord really used the bible study tonight to speak to me. for those of you who aren’t familiar with the story (it’s a really, really long one), abraham (originally called abram), wanted a son his whole life, and the Lord promised him one when he was a hundred years old. this son, isaac, was to be the first of a great nation that the Lord promised to bless because of abraham’s faith.
then God told abraham to sacrifice his son.
yep. no typos. God commanded abraham to take his only son, the one he’d been praying for for a hundred years, and offer him up as a burnt offering for the Lord. and abraham obeyed, taking isaac with him to the top of a tall, tall mountain. the journey and preparation took three days. it got to the point that abraham had tied his son up and was holding the knife. then the Lord stops him:
“do not lay a hand on the boy,” He said. “do not do anything to him. now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (genesis 22:12)
and so abraham stops, unties isaac, and spots a ram that the Lord brought as a replacement. he sacrifices the ram and walks with isaac back down the mountain.
i just can’t fathom any of this. i can’t fathom being asked, first of all, to do something like that. i can’t imagine being able to follow those directions, even if they came from God. there are some random thoughts that come to mind from this story, and there’s really no good order for them, so i’m just going to spit them out here. first, it says in hebrews that abraham trusted God to bring his son back to life after sacrificing him. in other words, he thought he would really have to kill him. but he also equally thought that isaac would come back down the mountain with him, alive. he had this much faith because the Lord promised that isaac would be the start of his blessed bloodline. the second thing is simply that trusting God is one thing. offering your son up for a burnt offering is another. abraham’s relationship with the Lord was more important to him than his relationship with his only son. i imagine after being almost offered up as a burnt offering, things were at the very least kind of awkward between father and son. and yet that, much less the love for his son, didn’t stop abraham.
that’s just a hard thing to accept. i understand that God calls us to follow and obey Him above all else. i get that concept. and yet the scope of that concept is beyond me. plus, the Lord never saks anything of me that even reaches close to the extent he asked of abraham. how can i not trust Him? what possible excuse could i have?
answer: i don’t have any.
Lord, help me to trust You in all things. help me to understand that Your plan is higher than mine in every way possible, and that therefore You can be trusted. help me also to remember that You have proved Yourself to me time and time again.
You are sufficient and therefore can completely satisfy me.
You are truth and therefore able to be trusted beyond anything else.
You are love, and because of that, i can love others.