I write this as I ponder my own struggles with surrender. I know I am not alone and hopefully, this piece will be an encouragement to others like me.
Isn’t it Remarkable! The Faith of Abraham.
This is what is said about the father of our faith: It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
(Hebrews 11:17-19. NLT)
…then there’s me and my faith…
Jesus calls me to deny myself and follow him. This denying requires that I let go of all that I hold on to as valuable, like some friendships, money, career, etc, and follow Him. He wants me to offer these as sacrifices (Romans 12:1)and accept his choices for me. He aptly describes this state He wants me to come to when He says I need to die to myself. Yet dying to myself never comes easy. I am by no means like Abraham who obeyed even though he knew he could have lost his only son. I cling so hard to the things I am asked to give up. To me, it makes no sense that the one thing I cherish is the exact thing I have to give up. To let go and trust God sounds all well and good until I have to do it. It usually goes like this: I take my sacrifice (all that I hold on to as valuable) to the altar and beg God not to let it go up in flames; knowing full well the fiery fate of sacrifices. After a few pleadings. I leave the altar… With my sacrifice… After sometime, I go back again and repeat the same thing. As I consider all this, two things come to mind as the reasons why my failures persist:
1. I fear of the effect of the inevitable flame of God that engulfs every sacrifice laid on the altar. It is the same flame that purifies. I dread the discomfort of having the dross taken away.
2. Then there is also my failure to trust His love for me. The same love He has proven time and time again to never fail and the same love I sing about.
In the midst of all this, I know one thing: I don’t want to die but I need to die and need trumps want. I need to die to self to follow Him. I need to die because that’s the only way to truly live for Him. He does not want me lukewarm and if I don’t pick a side or He will spit me out (Revelation 3:16). I have decided. I have chosen his side and that means I need to die and surely, it only takes death.
Trust, beauty and ashes
I choose to hand it all over not because I know the outcome of the sacrifice I am making but because He asks me to. I know that God can pull an ‘Isaac’ and return the sacrifice but what if He doesn’t? This time I want to leave the sacrifice on the altar. So, I choose to hang hopes like dreamcatchers over my deathbed and say like Abraham, as I look upon the risen Christ: He is able to bring anything back to life again. And even if my sacrifice goes up in flames, I am confident of this: He makes beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).