Sometimes the test
is almost impossible.
God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”
Over recent weeks it seems that the number of troubles among those I know have increased greatly. These aren’t little problems, but those deep, life-shattering types of troubles that some may never experience. How life-shattering it must have been for Abraham, to face having to sacrifice his son.
A preacher was delivering a sermon before a large congregation. He pointed out that believers aren’t exempt from trouble. In fact, some Christians are surrounded by trouble — trouble to the right, trouble to the left, trouble in front, and trouble behind. At this, a man stood up and shouted, ‘Glory to God, it’s always open at the top!’
God’s test of Abraham’s faith was exactly about that. We can imagine that in walking to Mount Moriah, with his son carrying the wood that he would be sacrificed on, Abraham was in tears. His heart was breaking, the knife at his side weighed heavy, and his soul was crying out to God. He climbed the hills where Jerusalem would later stand, where the sacrificial fires of the Temple would be built, the place where Jesus would take up the wood of the cross (as Isaac carried the wood for his sacrifice). He was surrounded on every side, front and back, and could not help but look up.
What happened when Abraham and Isaac arrived at God’s designated site of sacrifice? …the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God.” The response to Abraham’s troubles came from on high, from the top, from heaven.
Here’s the real test. Can we trust God enough to look up when those life-shattering troubles come? Can we place our reliance on Him? St. James noted: Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Troubles will either break us down, seem impossible, and cause us to look down or they will teach us to persevere and look up to heaven. The promise is that our perseverance, our looking up, will be rewarded and that we will lack for nothing particularly in eternity. We should repeat with the Psalmist: From whence does my help come? and answer: My help comes from the LORD.