There’s frost still on the faded grass as the sunrise lights the tips of the bare trees.
It’s still fairly quiet in this big old house save for the tic-tic-tic of the dogs’ nails against the hardwood floors.
The coffee burbles its awakening, and I sit watching the porch swing, and the world beyond it, rest.
There has been an intense war going on inside of me in the weeks leading up to this moment of quiet and solitude. A war between what I can see, and control, in the natural, and what God is asking me to see, and trust, in the supernatural.
Yesterday morning, the cashier at the coffee shop handed me a little scroll.
Rolled up in it were these words:
May you hope and trust God to fulfill and accomplish His promises within your life. May you not weaken in your faith as you examine the situation and facts, but grow strong in faith, giving glory to God, knowing, with full assurance, that He is able to perform what He promised. May your hope be based on your God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
Place your hope in a God who calls into being that which does not exist.
That’s harder than it sounds. And it sounds pretty hard to begin with.
Each test gets harder. I sit reading confirmation of that here in my quiet corner protected from the morning chill:
God will test your faith. And those tests won’t get easier. They will get progressively harder as the stakes get higher. And those tests will undoubtedly revolve around what is most important to you. What do you find your identity in? What do you find your security in? That’s your Isaac. God will test you to make sure your identity and your security are found in the cross of Jesus Christ. And God will go after anything you trust in more than Him until you put it on the altar. Mark Batterson, All In, p. 43-44.
This is what I’ve been doing: I’ve been debating whether obedience was worth it.
I’ve known these past weeks God has asked me to bring my Isaac to the altar. Jewish tradition says Abraham was given 10 tests. God’s request to sacrifice Isaac, his one and only son for whom he and Sarah had long-awaited, was the final test. Each test prepared him for this one, the hardest, beyond any of our comprehension. Batterson says in All In, the biblical stories which cause the most cognitive dissonance to our logical minds often contain the greatest revelations.
I have allowed many things to skew my priorities, but none more than security. Because of some painful destabilization in my childhood, including the absence of financial security, and because I’m human, I have reacted out of fear when security seems like it might be in jeopardy.
When I allow fear to dictate my decisions, instead of faith, I block what God can do. Fear and worry dethrones God. My girlfriend told me this weekend that if I held on to security, despite what I knew God was asking me to do, He wouldn’t be able to do the big things. Imagine all of the people who have been used the most by God. If security had become their God, then they would have never accomplished: building the ark, freeing the Israelites from Egypt, killing Goliath, following Jesus, building the church around the world.
Sometimes the very thing God has give you as a gift becomes your god instead of the Giver. So I’m laying it down. I’m stepping out of God’s way. I’ll probably have to lay it back down as I know I’ve not reached my final test, and I know they each get harder.
Let me encourage you, if there is a decision you need to make, or a place you need to go, or a person you need to support, or a dream which needs to die, step back, refuse to let fear dictate your action, and let the God who calls to life things that are dead work in your life.