"...to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
Isaiah 61:2b-3

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Old Testament Faith

Strange title for a post, right? If you are anything like me, you've read stories in the old testament and thought to yourself, "those times were different. God must have shown himself different. I could never be like these people." I have even been known to ask myself "are these people even real?"

I know in my heart that they are real and that they really lived, but it's hard to relate to them. They saw seas parted, they saw and heard God in burning bushes, they had manna provided everyday in miraculous ways, and on and on. I've often thought that I don't see these kind of miracles everyday, but yet, is that really true?

Maybe I do see these miracles, but I blind myself to the way that my God works.

I have to share a story that is going on in my life as we speak. I was thinking a bunch this morning and I now completely relate to an old testament "character."

Ever read the story about Abraham being told by God to take his son, Isaac, up on the mountain and sacrifice him? Does that not seem like a crazy, insane story? I've always questioned in myself why God would ask this of Him. I know that in the end God provides another sacrifice, but the God I know does not like people to murder other people. He's very strict on that one. So why ask someone to murder their own son?

I feel like Abraham right now. God asked me to do something with my own daughter that seems so crazy in the worlds eyes...and trust me, I've gotten some criticism. Our daughter found her birth mother and sisters last week, and she's been talking to them ever since. Who am I to stand in the way of that? I was having a hard time with it and feeling jealous because she is "mine." I was crying out to God about this and all of a sudden he just said to me very clearly, "you need to tell her that she can move back in with her birth mother and you will let her do that." I got a little angry. What kind of God would ask me to do that? Give up my only daughter? The one I waited so long to have in my life? I know we adopted her, but I love her like she's my own.

I cried, I begged, I pleaded. I screamed, I sobbed, and I finally was given a peace that God was with me no matter what. So I went to our pastor and asked his advice and he agreed with us. He felt we needed to do this as well. Ok, here goes some blind faith.

So last night we talked to our daughter and told her that we were giving her the option to live with her birth mother if that's what she really wanted (provided the courts would allow this transition...we don't want her in a dangerous situation). She has not given an answer yet, but she is seriously thinking hard about this.

So here I sit, at the alter with my daughter, waiting to possibly sacrifice her. Is God going to send another sacrifice in her place? Will he really have me sacrifice her? I don't know. The only thing I know right now, is that my God is faithful. He's always there. No matter what He will always take care of us and my daughter. And most of all I've learned that my daughter is really not my own. She belongs to God and is just on loan.

I believe now, that these people who lived so long ago, were just real people like us. It doesn't always share it, but I bet they had doubts. I bet they questioned God's plan in their life. I bet even when they made the choice to follow God no matter what, they didn't just jump up and say "hallelujah, God spoke to me." I bet they sat and prayed and questioned just for a short while.

I don't think they were "above human" in any way. We just have a hard time relating with people that we've never met and didn't get to see all the "behind-the-scenes" reactions going on.

I'm also reminded that this awesome God that I serve, gave up His son too. Only there was no substitute sacrifice there. His Son really was murdered. He was beaten beyond recognition, a crown of sharp, very long thorns was place on/"in" his head, carried his own cross up a hill when he had no strength left, and then was nailed (hands and feet) to this cross to suffer and die. All because He wanted me to be saved by His blood to spend eternity with Him. I am a sinner (as is everyone else), but His blood washes me clean and I am forgiven.

Please remember that no matter what kind of sacrifice you've had to give in your life, our God knows. And He understand what it's like to sacrifice something you love dearly. Won't you reach out to Him?

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