Walking on Together

“So the two of them walked on together.”
Genesis 22:8

The old, old man had put a large pile of sticks on the back of their donkey.  The old man’s young, strong son walked with his father, as two servants carried a pot of burning coals from their home fire. The odd foursome had been walking together for two days.  Then, the old man saw a very great hill in the distance.  He knew this was the place.  The old father stopped the small circle of travelers, handed the bundle of sticks to his strong son, and took hold of the pot of burning coals.  He tucked a large knife into his belt.  Father and son began the climb together.   With each step, the old man had to take care with his fiery burden.  Each difficult step forward, the father and son came closer to the place where both men’s lives would forever change.  

They carried the load of a sacrifice.  They both knew it.  And both knew clearly that no lamb  for the sacrifice was with them.  

Isaac, the treasured son for whom the old man had waited a lifetime, finally broke the silence, asking his father Abraham, “We have the burning coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  The old man simply said, “God will provide a lamb, Son.”  He had been through so very much since he chose to follow the God he had encountered long ago.  Through all those years, he had come to know God deeply.  Through all the twists and turns of life, he had come to trust God in ways that only the deepest of human pain can produce.  Now, his dearest treasure…his beloved son… hung in the balance between life and death.  Was he the sacrifice?

As the old father went through each detail of preparing a sacrifice, the reality of losing his precious son became more real.  He knew in his head that he was obeying God.  But what if . . . 
God doesn’t intervene? . . . God takes his son? . . . He had heard God wrong? . . . How could he go on?  How could his Sarah go on?  Is this “the end?”  Was his heart screaming out to God as each minute passed, preparing for the sacrifice?

Isaac had to trust his father as he had never trusted before.  How far would God go with this?    

We go through things . . . seasons . . . in our lives, when it’s  hard to simply breathe.  Our hearts and minds want to trust God’s goodness.  We know we will be able to understand when we are with Him after this life.  But as our very souls battle with fear, pain, and loss of hope on this earth, we don’t see the “end of the story.”   All we have left to hold onto is Him.  We are staring Death in the face.  It’s not in our power to change it.  We have to continue putting one foot in front of the other. . . breathing… hoping . . . yet drawing nearer to an “end” that we cannot control.

But there will be “...the rest of the Story…” 

We can read the rest of Abraham’s story, and how God intervened in this crisis situation.  He Himself provided what was needed, and Isaac’s life was spared.  The ram, God’s own Provision, took Isaac’s place.  It’s a story of Hope.  A story that played out in real human lives.  I’m sure that all the characters involved would have preferred less drama, les fear, a “near-death” experience.  But, even when it seems like we are at the very brink of death itself, God’s Chosen Lamb is already there…. Waiting to be all we need for Life itself in this world.   No matter where we are in the story of our lives, it’s not the end of The Story.

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