February 2016

headshotBy Elizabeth Ryan

Can you imagine just for a moment what it would be like if you were commanded to murder your only child to honor a ruler you deeply respected and loved?

The fear and rage at the unjust request would be, to say the least, absolutely debilitating. It would innately go against anything our maternal or even primal instincts would permit. We would die for our children and do anything to protect them and keep them safe. They become a part of us the moment God makes them known to us. He intrusted us specifically, to be their protector, nurturer, and provider of all that they would need in this world. When some of us take on this responsibility, we burden ourselves with thinking that when things go awry it must be because of something we didn’t do right or because of something maybe our kids did wrong.

It is so difficult when we watch our children face uncertain circumstances; it can sometimes be quite overwhelming. We may at times try to intercede to prevent the inevitable from happening, even to the point of of being completely frustrated and exhausted. We might even blame ourselves at times for their struggles. Often, we try to take control and do all that we know how to do ­ to make it right and easier for them.

So how did Abraham do it? How was he able to be so willing to do the unthinkable, for God whom he loved? How could God take Abraham’s only son, that he waited a 100 years for and command that he be sacrificed as a burnt offering by Abraham’s own hand? How did Abraham endure the journey knowing with every step, he was drawing closer and closer to carry out what God had commanded?

To meditate on this scripture in Genesis 22, we see a clear example of how we are to parent our children, and in that, what it looks like to have unwavering faith, trust and confidence in God’s truth and promises.

Abraham knew God, heard his voice and responded in obedience to his command. His faith did not waver, he did not disobey, plead or ignore God. …Nor did he carry the burden of the weight of the wood…He laid the wood on Isaac’s back. It was for his son to carry…(just as it was for Jesus when God laid the cross on him). They climbed the mountain together all the while certain God would be faithful to fulfill his promise to Abraham as it is written in Genesis 17:16. He rested in this, confident in God’s truth.

God wants us to trust him with this same unwavering faith. He tells us in Psalm 55:22 “cast our burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved”.

It is good to learn to sincerely fear God and not withhold anything from him, not even our own children. There is a purpose in our children’s struggles and it is important for them to endure the weight. They will learn by climbing the mountain with us alongside them, keeping our eyes on the Lord. Our steady and assured confidence in God speaks much more to them than our words could ever say.

I have learned to fear greatly a life apart from God and that only in him is where I truly find peace and rest.