Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What did their Sticky Note say?

During all of this time with Andrew suffering, I have come to understand the Word so deeply. Recently, I have come across a story that is near and dear to my heart lately, it is the story of Isaac, which played a part in my love for that name… but anyways… here it goes.

Genesis 12:1-7, tells us about God’s call and promise to Abraham. At that time, his name was Abram, and his wife’s name was Sarai. God promised Abram that He would make of him a great nation and that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. How cool of a promise is that? Seriously, I love that the One who created the Heaven’s and the Earth will bless those who blessed this man and curse those who cursed him.

After hearing the promise, Abram and Sarai, along with Abram’s nephew Lot, pulled up stakes and traveled south until they arrived in Canaan, the promised land. One remarkable thing about God and His promises to Abraham is that He told Abram the same thing several times (See 13:14-15, 15:5), but Abram and Sarai weren’t quite sure how God was going to fulfill His promise. This is exactly where I am right now. I have been hearing the same thing for a while now, but am not sure exactly how He will do what ever He has planned and I am not even sure what His plan is… I tell ya, I have been tempted to pack up and move to Canaan as well, a new location, might mean a new message right?

You see, these two couldn’t have children (11:30), and it seemed obvious that this problem was a major obstacle in the way of the promise that they would become a great nation. At one point, Abram seems to think he’ll never have any children and that a servant will be his heir (15:2), and then Sarai comes up with the idea that maybe God wants Abram to have children through Sarai’s servant, Hagar (16:1). So, between having severe doubts and trying to solve the problem themselves, Abram and Sarai ended up going through a lot of turmoil as they waited to see God’s promise come into being.

I can relate to these two. Now, I have been blessed with a son, Isaac, but their story is near and dear to me. You see, I have asked for another “sticky note” from my Sweet Jesus and this one, well, it did not have any of the information I wanted. It simply said “WAIT”… yep…

It comes up everywhere, it seems like I cannot escape this one. I was praying over my man last night, and there it was, posted to my alarm in the morning. I was praying over our situation as I enjoyed a caffeinated beverage this morning, and there is was on stuck to my computer at work. Those 4 little words are following me everywhere. And just like Abraham and Sarai, I don’t want to wait. I for some reason am having a hard time waiting for much longer. After all, it has been almost 3 years… Now, Abraham and Sarai waited for much longer than that, but I don’t think we can make it that long.

When I kept digging into their story, it seemed like God was delaying, and in the mean time, trouble would come their way. A famine came into the land (12:10ff), and they went to Egypt, but because Abram was afraid, he and Sarai agreed to deceive the Egyptians and conceal their marriage, claiming that they were only brother and sister. The same sort of thing happened again later when they deceived another king about their marriage (see chapter 20). Because of this deception, Sarai was taken into the household of other men, first of Paraoh and then of Abimelech. Imagine how you would feel if you were Abram–imagine how you would feel if you were Sarai! They were waiting and yet, nothing, or at least it appeared like nothing.

Finally, however, Sarah (her name and Abraham’s were changed in 17:5 and 15) became pregnant long after she was of child-bearing age, and she gave birth to Isaac. A squabble broke out between Sarah and Hagar, because Hagar thought she was better than Sarah–she had been able to bear a son for Abraham and had named him Ishmael. Sarah got tired of Hagar acting superior and of Ishmael making fun of Isaac, so she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away (chapter 21). Abraham didn’t feel very good about that–after all Ishmael was his son–but God told him to listen to Sarah. You would think that finally God would be satisfied that they had waited in faith and that He had now fulfilled his promise of giving them an heir.

However, in chater 22, we read about one last test. This one gets me every time. God tells Abraham to take his only true heir, Isaac, to a mountain and to sacrifice him to God. Seriously, after all they had been thru, after all the waiting and tests that came their way, they are suppose to give up the every thing they waited for, for so long?

I admire the man for even walking out of the tent, because I am not sure I would have even gotten that far. It turns out that just as Abraham was ready to plunge the knife into Isaac’s chest on the altar, God stopped him, satisfied that Abraham really believed that God could overcome even the death of Isaac and still fulfill His promise. God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead.
I cling to their story. I cling to Abrahams faith in God and Sarah’s devotion to her man. I admire the faith it must have taken to tie his son to that alter and look into his eyes as he is about to sacrifice his one and only son. I at times, feel like Andrew and I are right there with them. Trying to wait in faith and trust with everything we’ve got that something bigger and better is in store. But the faith at times, starts to run out, conversations with Jesus happen with great passion and frustration at the center. We are tired, we are spent and yet, we are still being tested. At this very moment I know I do not have the strength to tie my son to an alter, I am not sure I would have the strength to do that once this “adventure” was over. I am not even sure I have the strength to continue to very basic and necessary tasks life requires, you know, laundry, dishes, work, etc.

In the New Testament passages, we find out that Abraham is held up as a man who believed God’s promises despite the apparent impossibility of them being fulfilled. He is also shown to be one who put feet to his faith by obeying God when God told him to do something. I want to be that kind of servant. I want to have that faith, I want to have that strength. I want my man to have that as well.

Sarah is held up as a model for women, showing them how to be influential with their husbands. We know, having read Genesis, that Abraham and Sarah were not always confident in their faith and that there were several times when their marriage went through difficult periods. But in the New Testament, we learn that they triumphed.

It’s good to know that God doesn’t demand perfection, because right now, I cannot give Him that. I don’t think I could ever give Him that. But He does want us to hold tight to our faith and to the ones we love as we travel the path He has prepared for us.

It is because of their story that I am okay with the sleepless nights, the reoccurring night mares, the repeating of scripture over and over again just because it is truth and that is all we cling to. I am okay with where we are, because they made it. God delivered them, He fulfilled His promises and those promises I will cling to. I guess I just want a different sticky note… may one that will give me more information, like a time line or a deadline of some sort. Anyone else, just want a little stick note every now and then?

Sweet Jesus, I praise you for the night of restful sleep for Andrew. I praise you for a night free from nightmares and one of rest. Thank you for that simple but much needed gift. Give us strength to hang in there and wait. Our goal is to be obedient to you, to serve you, to go where you lead and complete the challenges you have set before us with integrity. Just watch over us. Never leave us, reassure us of your promises and love for us. Come into our home and make your presence known. Heal my man Sweet Jesus, bring healing. I love you. Amen

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