Monday, November 23, 2009

The Drama of Becoming Abraham and Isaac

In my next to last semester, I have found myself conflicted. A choice has been placed before me, to follow through with current plans or to turn aside, in faith, to something else. I have experienced so much filling and emptying the last several years: a number of dissatisfying and ephemeral jobs, deep personal friendships, lack of mentorship and guidance, satisfying ministry, future anxiety, a new addition to our family. Hopes dashed. Hopes fulfilled. All while pouring out my all before God for each morsel of direction, each crumb of hope to hold onto. This has been a difficult season, but one of deep growth.

I did not learn in seminary what I came to learn . . . but I have learned so much more. I learned my limitations (which are, sadly, many), I learned to hold my tongue, I learned to second-guess myself, I learned about covenant, I learned to love less selfishly, I learned that there are 24 hours that may be used in each day, I learned to put-off my own interests (usually) for my family's. Important lessons. Lessons that have brought me to realize that there are ministries that are more important than paid ones. All said, I am learning to become both Abraham and Isaac.

I am becoming Abraham, trusting in God's promise as I dangle my hopes and dreams over the precipice of the unknown. I place my hopes and dreams of a future career in ministry and education on the altar of God's will. I lift my flint knife to strike at the jugular of all I have believed to be his will. Yet, I know, in my deepest heart that God is sovereign and good. He will work all things to the good of those who trust in him (that is first and foremost applied to Christ, but in a secondary way to those who trust in Christ as Savior and God). Are my plans most important? Never. But what of the plans he has formed within me as he has changed my heart? They are still placed on his altar . . . in hope and expectation. He will raise up a new hope that pleases himself.

I am becoming Isaac, too. I do not struggle or cry out as the knife is raised beyond my vision. I thank God for my life and ministry, my hopes and dreams, and I seek his will, even as it appears they all may come to an end. What right have I to demand my own way? What have I to cling to but him? Praise God for this altar; this choice. His will, and not my own, be done.

It has been a long process to get me to this place. Given the choices I face now, I would have acted far more selfishly even a year ago. Scripture, life, providence, grace have all done their work. I look to my bloody King (Isaac in the deepest sense), and not to my weak arm, for vindication. May it always be so.

I leave you with lyrics from BarlowGirl's Beautiful Ending, which has affected me greatly as of late.

Oh, tragedy has taken so many.
Love lost 'cause they all forgot who You were.
And it scares me to think that I would choose my life over You
Oh, my selfish heart divides me from You
It tears us apart

So tell me what is our ending?
Will it be beautiful, so beautiful?

Oh, why do I let myself let go. . .
Of Hands that painted the stars and hold tears that fall?
And the pride of my heart makes me forget it's not me but You, that makes the heart beat
I'm lost without You, Your dying for me

So tell me what is our ending?
Will it be beautiful, so beautiful?
Will my life find me by Your side?
Your love is beautiful, so beautiful

At the end of it all, I wanna be in Your arms.

No comments: