There are times when you connect with another writer and in the process discover all the things you have in common. Linda Stoll is one of those people. Even though our friendship spans across internet miles, we find how God continues to lead us on similar paths. It is reassuring to have a “Me too” comrade in arms.
Today, I am honored to welcome Linda to this space. Enjoy her wisdom, heartfelt words, and the unfolding of how she learns to lay her Isaac down.
Join her weekly HERE at her own blogging home.
There’s something challenging about sharing a post at someone else’s place. Even though you might know a number of her readers, you want to put your best foot forward because you’re a guest in her home and you want to honor her gracious welcome with an offering that’s in some way meaningful or provocative or eye-catching.
And, truth be told, you hope that maybe you’ll gain a few new readers of your own in the process.
I’ve been mulling over about a half dozen different topics for this post. But Isaac’s story keeps coming back, haunting me, whispering, ‘share this, share this.’
And so I will.
You’ve most likely read the Old Testament passage where Abraham was tested by God, who asked His faithful servant to pack up his son, Isaac, along with a bunch of firewood and a few servants, and head on a three day trek up a mountain … to offer that beloved young man, his only son, as a sacrifice.
As in tying him up and laying him on top of firewood on an altar and presenting him as a burnt offering.
Genesis 22:1-19 tells the riveting story.
I . can’t . even . begin . to . imagine.
A doting father’s initial unspeakable horror upon hearing God’s request. The undaunted faith of this man of God, willing to be obedient because He was confident in God’s character and knew that He’d provide. The most welcome salvation of the Lord announced by an angel. The provision of a ram held hostage by his horns in a nearby thicket.
What went through this young man’s mind as he realized that there was no sacrificial lamb in their baggage as he and his dad trudged side by side up the mountain? What terrors did he experience as he realized what was unfolding? Did he freak out, screaming and trying to fight off his father as he bound him tight and laid him on the altar’s wood and raised the knife?
And then the counselor inside of me wonders what Isaac’s relationship with his father looked like in the years that followed. How could it not be drastically altered by his father’s radical act of obedience? Did he end up traumatized by the near disaster? Did he wrestle with trust issues, suffer with some kind of anxiety disorder, or experience PTSD as he himself grew to be a man of God?
Fast forward down through the generations. God continues to call us to listen up. To hear His tenderly powerful voice. To stretch and enlarge our faith. To be obedient to His sometimes monumental requests.
To be willing to release our misplaced sense of entitlement or ownership of the people, places, and things we prize, that we grasp tightly, that we call beloved. Any and all dreams we cling to, ministries we value, positions we’d like to attain. Hopes of good health we’re hanging our hats on … or maybe that bit of hard earned money socked away for the future.
Whatever, whoever we think we could never live without.
God desires that we freely release anybody and everything that even begins to approach taking the number one place in the deepest parts of who we are, that would threaten to dethrone Him from His rightful place in the center of our souls.
For some time, I’ve been in process of releasing all kinds of stuff that was never mine to own.
Difficult family situations that I desperately wanted to fix. Carefully planned agendas and big dreams that I figured I could somehow make happen. My own hard-earned opinions and a few relationships that weren’t all that good for me.
Areas where my control freak tendencies came roaring to the forefront. The propensity to crave affirmation. Visions for ministry, some that came to be and those that never quite appeared.
I’m finding that as I release yet one more heart-wrenching scenario or deeply felt
And sooner or later He again whispers conviction about yet one more person, place, or thing that’s taking up sacred space that should be reserved for Him and Him alone.
And once again, I raise my hands to lay my Isaac down.
What is the Isaac you need to lay down today? How will you make room for God in your sacred space?