This morning I came across the story of the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22. If you are unfamiliar with this story please read through the chapter. In a nutshell, God tested Abraham by telling him, “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 of which I shall tell you” (verse 2). I know this is a tough one on us parents. How could God ask Abraham to do this to his son? The son that God promised a great nation was going to come from.
Abraham did what I’m sure I’d have trouble doing in this situation. He obeyed God without question, “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (verse 3).
I admit that I am convicted by my lack of prompt obedience when I read this chapter. Abraham’s life was characterized by his faith in God by evidence of his obedience in not only this chapter but in Genesis 12:1-4 and 17:23. There have been times in my life where I felt called to do something but refused to move forward out of fear. Fear of the unknown, rejection or what God might ask me to experience. I have one example that has changed my life because of my lack of prompt obedience.
I once knew a woman who was suffering from lung cancer. I remember sitting and talking to her about what she was going through one day after church and got the impression that she felt like she was alone. She was supported by her family and church family but not by anyone who really knew what she was going through. I gave her my number and said I’d love to walk alongside her while she was going through this.
I distinctly remember leaving that conversation with a thought that I needed to start a cancer support group. I immediately dismissed it thinking I was not capable of leading that kind of group. Within the next month five more women I knew were diagnosed with cancer and each time the thought of starting a support group kept popping into my head. Each time I dismissed it because of the fear of what it would lead to. A few months later the sweet lady with lung cancer passed away. We weren’t able to touch basis and I was unable to offer any kind of support. The guilt I felt was great because I knew had I promptly obeyed God’s first calling to start a group, that she might have had the extra support she needed before she passed away.
Her death was a wake up call. I started to pray over what I felt God was calling me to do which eventually lead to me starting a cancer support group. A group that will be celebrating its 5th birthday this month. I may not have felt fully equipped to start this group but God has certainly equipped me along the way. I just needed to step out in faith and let Him do the rest like He has.
I won’t beat myself up over not obeying God right away. I want it to serve as a reminder to me how vital it is to obey. I will leave you with Charles Spurgeon’s thought on Abraham’s prompt obedience, “WHAT WAS ABRAHAM’S SPECIAL EXPERIENCE, which led to his becoming so remarkable a saint? The secret lies in three things: he had a call, he obeyed it, and he obeyed it because he had faith.”