Sunday – June 29, 2014

Genesis 22:1-2; 9-12

22 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”

9 When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill[a] his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

I’ve heard it said that God does not give us any more than we can handle in a single day…but there are times when it feels like God thinks a little too highly of our ability to cope with difficult situations!

In today’s reading, God asks Abraham to have a lot of faith…as God commands him to sacrifice his own son to show his loyalty and faithfulness.  How many of us would have such faith…as to agree to sacrifice any of our children because God asked us to do so?  Of course now we know that God stopped Abraham before it was too late…but Abraham did not know that God would spare Isaac…he did not know that this was just a test…as the God of the Old Testament was not always warm and fuzzy, but could be something of a hard-case.

Even though Abraham believed that God really wanted to make a sacrifice of his son, Isaac, and although it broke his heart to have to make such a sacrifice to God, Abraham agreed, as he had faith that God would not let him down, that even if he could not understand why Isaac had to be sacrificed, he believed that it was all part of God’s plan, and that even this horror would serve a purpose.

The good news is that this WAS only just a test of faith, one that Abraham passed…and the better news is that God does not test our faith by asking us to make such difficult sacrifices…instead God made the ultimate sacrifice for us: giving His own son to die in torment on the cross to that we could experience the grace and joy of new life, as we live in the light of Christ’s resurrection!

Through the sacrifice of Christ, we no longer have to earn God’s love through tests of faith, but are surrounded by God’s love and grace given to us as a free gift, and living in the light of this gift we are filled with the faith we need to face life on life’s terms…

This does not mean that we do not face trials in our lives, or that our children will not have to deal with their own troubles; as bad things do happen in our lives, but it is good to know that God is not doing these things to us…does not look at our lives and decides to ‘teach us a lesson’, instead it is God’s Will that we all be happy, joyous and free!

As single parents we know what it means to make sacrifices for our children, as even just becoming a single parent is a sacrifice, it means that we are giving up (or rather changing) some of our own plans and hopes, and instead focusing our lives on the well-being of our children…just as God wishes for us, we wish for our children to be happy, joyous and free…not to know any pain or trouble, yet still negativity finds them right in the midst of their lives…and it is not always deserved!  While we would do anything to protect our children we are often powerless to save them from their pain; instead all we can do is to support them, help them, and share our faith in God’s love with them.  

Then there are times, when the best thing for us to do is to let them go and trust them to God’s grace…sometimes we just have to let our children fall…as sometimes we have to fall in order to make changes in our lives.

Letting go of our children does not mean that we do not love them, but that we have faith, the faith to trust God, as Abraham did, to really believe that everything will be okay…eventually; for our children and for ourselves…as when we make sacrifices for our children we become part of the sacrifice of Christ…the faith of Abraham, as we boldly move forth believing in God’s presence in our world, by living our faith out loud…walking the light of the resurrection…the light of hope!

Let us Pray:

Dear Lord, thank you for sacrificing your only son in order to connect with us, and to let us know that we are immersed in your gracious love.  Please help us to make out own sacrifices for ourselves and our children…from standing by them through any trial, to being able to “let go and let God” when needed.  Help us to have the faith of Abraham, as we walk together in the light of the resurrected Christ; and we thank you for not giving us any more than we can handle in one day…and that we do not have to handle these things along…because you are with us always.

Amen

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