Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Abraham, Isaac and Me

A while back, I had the opportunity to share a revelation God gave me shortly after Holly was diagnosed, and the Holy Spirit has been bugging me to share it with you ever since. I guess it's high time I obeyed!

When Holly was still a baby, I was driving her to her pediatrician's office -- again -- when a wave of anger over her recent diagnosis of cystic fibrosis swept over me. With jaw clenched and tears streaming down my face, I informed God that "this is NOT fair! If You want to teach me something, then You afflict ME! She is just a baby. What can she possibly learn from all this suffering? What kind of God are you? . . . ." 

Almost immediately the Holy Spirit took control of my mind and reminded me of Abraham and Isaac. I didn't hear a voice speaking aloud, but the words and meaning were just as clear. I saw the two of them on the mountain as Abraham finished binding Isaac with the firewood around and underneath him. I saw Abraham raise the knife over his head ready to plunge into his beloved child's heart. Then, God showed me how He was using their story to speak to me. He made me acutely aware that, through Holly's CF, He was putting me in the place of Abraham and Holly in the place of Isaac. He reminded me of Abraham's unyielding obedience, as well as Isaac's apparent unquestioning willingness to do what his father instructed. I came to understand that Abraham was convinced that God loved Isaac infinitely more than he, Abraham, loved his only, much-longed-for son, and that God would not require anything of him that was not God's best for him, and, more important to his father's heart, also God's best for Isaac.

Then, I "heard" God's gentle, compassionate voice speak to my hurting heart, saying, "You know how much you love Holly? I love her more than you can possibly fathom. All I'm asking from you is to love her enough to let Me do what's best for her even if it hurts you." Wow! How could I respond except to say, "OK, Father, but you're going to have to get me through it. I'll trust you, but I can't do it by myself." And then another wave swelled over me that swept away the anger and replaced it with a peace, hope and a sense of strength that I knew came from Him and was not my own. People have often told me that I'm strong, but I'm not strong at all. God is. His strength has gotten me through the myriad heartaches of life that have not all been due to Holly's illness. 

If you're wondering how to face an unbearable situation, don't assume God won't give you more than you can bear. Of course He will! He does it all the time. If we could bear the awful situations we're faced with in life, why would we lean on Him? It's only through the trials that we grow most. It's then we learn the truth of Romans 5:3-5: "We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."