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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Parenthood, via Abraham

"Before Abraham sacrificed Isaac, he laid himself on the altar - by obeying God."

by Ferenc Visky (Ferenc Visky (July 1, 1918 - October 5, 2005) was a minister in the Hungarian Reformed Church in Transylvania and a leader of evangelical revival in Romania who spent several years in prison under the Communist rule of that country.)

"Take your son... and sacrifice him as a burnt offering."(Genesis 22:2)


God speaks to Abraham and requires something from him. Abraham thinks of everything, except the fact that he has a God who asks something from him.


Nobody is aware that God can also ask for things. People like to ask for things and they like God to give. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his own beloved son and with it, He asked everything from him.


When I was deported together with my seven little children, the eldest of whom was eleven years old and the youngest only two, my biggest concern was not that all our possessions had to be left behind, that the door was closed behind us and that we would not return. The one thing I worried about was the seven little ones. What would become of them? Who would feed them and look after them?


Abraham obeyed and laid his son on the altar, though he did not know God's purpose. He only knew God Himself, for he believed Him and loved Him. Before Abraham sacrificed Isaac, he laid himself on the altar - by obeying God. Because he sacrificed himself first, he prevented the sacrifice of Isaac.


I knew I had to do the same thing. I cried for my children, but I had to lay myself on the altar first. And there, in that fateful situation, I experienced a miraculous surprise. Jesus had been there before. He did His Father's will and so I found that He was there when I was prepared to sacrifice myself and it meant salvation for me and my children.


Don't try to find an excuse when God takes you to the altar, for it is there that He Himself is waiting for you - in His beloved Son.

This is one of those passages that keeps coming up as a theme in our lives, an uncomfortable one, one I'd rather skip over.  The most consistently impossible challenge of faith and missions is that of parenthood, of putting our children into situations that seem like an altar, a knife, rope, and bewilderment.  I spend a lot of energy feeling like a bit more organization, better feeding, alertness to opportunity, push for language acquisition,  more consistent family devotions, more effective prayer, will somehow shield them from the altar.  Ferenc Visky and Abraham bear testimony that by asking us to place our children at risk, we are placing our very hearts on the altar.  No wonder we balk.  But the good news is that God is there.  So for all parents of kids at boarding schools, parents of kids who feel lost and out of place, parents of kids with marginal health, parents of kids whose future feels uncertain and threatened, parents of kids who have been teased or isolated or excluded, parents of kids who are taking their own steps of sacrifice and faith . . . remember Abraham.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Sam is three weeks into Czech school. Thank you for this truth!!!