ADVENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT--DAY 3
Genesis 22:10-13 Then he (Abraham) picked up the knife to kill him (Isaac). But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He answered, “Yes, here I am.”
“Don’t hurt the boy or do anything to him,” he (the angel of the Lord) said. “Now I know that you honor and obey God, because you have not kept back your only son from him.”
The big question this passage raises in everyone’s mind is “What kind of God would ask someone to sacrifice their own child?” The obvious answer is, “God did not actually ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac; God merely ‘tested’ him as a sign of the way Jesus would die for us.” But the obvious answer doesn’t address the reality that many people do, in fact, lose their children, their parents, their loved ones to illness, accident, disaster or war. What answer do people have in the face of such losses? People say: “Things happen; we live in a fallen world; there is no answer”. But none of this is satisfying, especially if we are to believe in a loving God. This story and the story of Jesus offer us hope, that each of our serious losses may be considered as occurring “for the love of God”, just as the loss of Jesus occurred “for the love of people.” No, God will not allow us to harm our loved ones, but when a loss overcomes us beyond our control, God offers His only Son as the guarantee that the loss is not meaningless, not irredeemable, not beyond His love. That promise enables us to direct our anger, sadness, confusion, and grief at Him—that we may find in Him that peace that passes understanding.
Prayer: Dear God, you well know what and who I treasure. You know what and who I cannot even bear the thought of losing. I pray that You would protect that which I hold dear. I also pray that You would inhabit my experience of loss, disappointment, and grief. Because You are the LORD, teach me to direct to You all of my feelings, both negative and positive. Grant me to learn to so trust you that the experience of loss may blend into the experience of the coming of Jesus, the One who redeems all loss in his own sacrifice. In His name I pray, Amen.