Monday, June 8, 2009


One month ago today, it started out like any other day. A busy morning having breakfast with the boys, doing a devotion and a craft with them (and believe me I don’t get this accomplished every day, but happened to this particular morning), finding something suitable to wear to my Drs. appointment all the while noting that I had a record weight gain that month, and no doubt our baby girl was growing as rapidly as I was. Unimaginable that the day would end the way it did, waiting in the hospital for my mind, soul, and body to get the message that it was time to let go…

I think of Abraham waking up on a day like any other, and God says to him “Take now 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.” Keep in mind, this is the son that Abraham and his wife Sarah have spent a lifetime praying and waiting for, the one whose name means laughter, because they couldn’t believe he was really here after Abraham’s 100th birthday! And finally, God had answered their prayers and fulfilled the promise he had given to Abraham to make him the father of many nations through Sarah’s son.

Imagine what might have gone through Abraham’s mind when he heard what God was asking of him that day, to sacrifice the very one whom God had promised would be used to establish an everlasting covenant. “How could a loving God require this?” “How, then, can I expect you to fulfill the promise you made to me, God?” But what is his reaction? He saddles his donkey, gathers his son and some wood, and begins the journey to Mount Moriah. Imagine him building the altar with his own hands, all the while his son looks around and asks “Daddy, where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Holding back his anguish Abraham answers “Son, God will provide the sacrifice.” With shaking hands he gently takes hold of his only son, dearly loved, and binds him with rope. As Abraham lays him on top of the wood, Isaac looks up at him, eyes wide with innocence.

It isn’t until Abraham lifts the knife to slay him that Isaac’s eyes show any fear. It is only then, at the last moment, that God finaly speaks “Do not lay your hand on the lad, 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…blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendents as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore…in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Oh Lord, how can I have that strength? You ask me to give you my only daughter, and it is with everything in me that I try to cling to her. My body refuses to let her go for 19 hours, I hold her and take many more days to finally say good-bye when her body is buried in the ground, and still the long good-bye continues as my heart wraps around her forever…

And then I think of You. You sent your only begotten Son, deeply loved, into the world as a helpless baby, knowing full well the anguish He would experience during His life on earth. You oversee the planting and growth of a little seed, that throughout His life grows into a sturdy tree. You watch as He pours love out on the people You have created, and we turn our backs on Him. He pleads, with innocent eyes, “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

You see Him seized, accused, beaten and tortured, with the power to rescue Him, and still you hold back. The tree You created is fashioned into a wooden cross, heavy with the weight of all the sin and injustice of the whole world, and You watch Him bear it on His bloody back. How Your heart must be aching and broken for Him, but You even take it another step further. As He hangs on that tree, You turn Your face away, and pour out on Him the crushing death-blow of all Your wrath for the sin of mankind, casting on Him in His innocence the penalty that we deserve. In His anguish He cries out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” It is only then, after the fullness of the penalty has been paid that You finally withdraw Your hand, and He is able to say “It is Finished.”

And You whisper into my heart, “I know…”

But it hurts too much to let her go… “I know,”

The pain is too great to bear... “I know.”

Oh God, you know so much greater sorrow than I can comprehend. Your heart is breaking with me as you think of how much a parent loves a child and the agony of being separated, how the thought of them experiencing any pain is too much to endure. And yet you inflicted it on Christ with Your own hand. Why? “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.” Wow, You did it for me. You sacrificed Your Son for the very ones who turned our backs on Him and nailed Him to the cross. To give us life. It is more than I can comprehend and more meaningful today than ever before.

Father I thank you for sending Your son, Jesus, I thank you that through that sacrifice You have victory over the grave. He rose again and is in heaven where He met Eliana at the gates. I thank you that because You sacrificed Your Son, I can lay my daughter in Your hands, and know that, like you did with Isaac, You will give her back to me. Not today, but a day when You will wipe away my tears and all suffering will cease, when I can fully love and know her in a way that isn’t possible on earth. The day when I will see Your face and experience the wonder that is You, and tell you thank you, in person.

God, I don’t think I would ever be able to lay her on the alter, built with my own hands, and lift the dagger, but please accept my open, outstretched palms, as tears stream down, and I promise to trust you. My heart will never stop loving her, but I give her to you because I know that Your love is immeasurably greater than my love for her, and Your love for me is the very same. I will follow You and trust You with my whole heart, longing for the day when my suffering will be rewarded with blessing, and my mourning will turn into dancing. You have already given me so much, and I am forever grateful.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:18-19

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
Psalm 86:13

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