“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
~ T. S. Eliot
Yesterday we thought about a great man of faith, Abraham. He was despondent because he and his wife were childless and they were in very advanced age. There would be no heir and his line would die. Yet, God promised him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and he would be the Father of Nations.
Abraham believed God and his belief was credited to him as righteousness.
Can you imagine, then, how Abraham must have felt when God told him to take his son up the mountain, to make a bier, to slaughter his son, and to sacrifice him? Why would God do this to him? What good could come from this horrendous act? Yet, Abraham, ever the man of faith, put his trust in God and invited his son to go for a walk with him.
Little did the son know that the wood he was collecting for a fire would be used to immolate his body. Isaac questioned his father but was met with short answers or silence. When the wood was collected, Abraham bound his son and placed him on the wood, drawing a knife to kill Isaac. An angel stayed his hand and provided for Abraham and Isaac a ram caught in the thickets.
The ram is the symbol for the Jesse Tree today.
God has promised that He would care for us and provide for us. He also promised that, if we remain faithful to Him, He would bring us home to Him at the end of our days. He just did not tell us how all of that would come about. Sometimes we think that, because we follow the Lord, it will be easy sailing. We do not think about the fact that God tests His people, trying and proving them, as the author of the Book of Wisdom wrote.
Abraham had every reason in the world to say no to God. He had waited for what he thought was the end of his life to have a son. That son was promised to him by God. He had no idea why God was requiring him to sacrifice his son. But, he was willing to place his complete trust in God and was rewarded for it.
We do not know the outcome of each day or what the next will bring. All we know is that we, too, are being asked to place our complete trust in God.
FAITH ACTION: Ask yourself what things you have a hard time turning over to God and then ask God for the grace that you need to abandon yourself to Him.