A couple weeks ago, I was preparing to teach our kindergarten thru fifth graders about how God is Provider. The accounts of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac show this attribute of God over and over again. That day we would be discussing how God would ask Abraham to give up the very “thing” He had finally provided after about a hundred years – his son Isaac. Some lessons are easier to teach than others. Visuals and relevant examples make a lesson come alive to kids and adults alike but they aren’t always easy to find.
That day we had a table set up as our altar. I had one child come and set up some wooden sticks as these would have been needed to set fire to the sacrifice. As I continued to talk about what happened next – when Abraham began tying up his own son – I wrapped a jump rope around my shaking hands. My hand wasn’t the only thing trembling at that moment, my voice couldn’t hide the emotions that were welling up within me.
As I taught of trusting God in the midst of great sacrifice, a flood of remembrance of the many times I’ve had to hand over what meant the most to me to God came rushing in. From small wants to great dreams, from tangibles to the out of reach, from ideas to actual people – no matter what it was, the handing over has rarely been easy. Some things you would be like, “Really, Anastasia, so NOT a big deal!” Others you may relate to and understand quite well.
I asked the kids that morning who the most important person in their life was to them. Then I asked them to think about how it would feel if God asked them to give that person to Him. A few of those kiddos knew all too well what that was like – HARD! To have to entrust our most important person(s) into the hands of God (for some literally and for others figuratively) and walk away, seems almost impossible. We can feel the tightness in our chests, the sickness in our stomachs, the pain, the sorrow, sometimes the anger. It just seems too much.
I came to one of my favorite points in that whole Bible account – Abraham’s obedience.
“Boys and girls, did Abraham whine to God? Argue with Him?”
“What did he do?”
As much as we’d like to read that Abraham whined, argued, bargained, or delayed his obedience, we don’t. What we do read is that God asked the unimaginable of him and he got up and did it. Now, I can’t help but think that, just like my hands began shaking as I remembered some of my own sacrifices, Abraham’s hands may have been shaking as they were held high above Isaac with a knife, ready to do just what God had commanded. When God asks us to do something out of our comfort zone or asks us to give something or someone that we feel surely we can’t live without, do you tremble?
When Jesus submitted to what God had asked Him to do, when His arms were stretched out and his hands were held up by nails, I believe He also shook. From physiological reasons, sure, but possibly also from the weight of a world of sin. All the destruction, devastation, and deceit of darkness pressing down on the Light of the World. It was a trembling that would seem to succumb to death, but three days later the quaking would raise Christ’s very body and darkness would once more know that it could not overcome the Light. Sin would be defeated and we would have hope and salvation and, finally, a way into the very presence of God again. All this because Jesus would obey and sacrifice His life for a world that meant everything to Him…and all that because Abraham would obey and be willing to sacrifice a life that meant the world to him.
I’m so thankful for that morning with our ROCK Point kiddos. This may be an account many of them have heard over and over again and for some it may have been brand new, but His Word is alive and active – He continues to be at work in our lives and for our lives. I want to be a part of sharing His Word and living His Word…before The Church in hopes to encourage those in their walk with Christ…before the world in hopes to make His love for them known.
Just like Abraham’s story pointed to The Greatest Story ever told – Christ’s sacrifice for us – our own sacrifices, our stories, are meant to point to Him. We Rely On Christ the King daily so that the world may know Him and His great love. This is the legacy we strive weekly to pass on to our MPC kiddos with the hopes that they will take His Word into their homes and schools, onto their fields and courts, and out into every place God leads them.
This week I will prepare a lesson on how God is Faithful…the trembling has begun.