I cried through most of the sermon on Sunday. Travis preached on the Old Testament lesson, Genesis 22:1-18. I knew it was coming, but I still wasn’t prepared for the emotions that accompanied it. Ugh.
It was a year ago that I was sitting in the hospital, worrying and praying about my pregnancy, fearful that we would have a repeat of our experience with Jonah. I couldn’t handle the thought of another stillbirth. But this story about Abraham’s faith kept creeping into my head, and I couldn’t just set it aside. God used the story to show me that I could trust Him with my child’s life, even if it meant that my child died. I managed to get through the pregnancy and hold my daughter.
And then everything went wrong, horribly wrong. And yesterday I was reminded of how God had challenged me a year ago to trust Him with my daughter’s life. I continue to trust Him, but it is so hard. I want to be mad at Him for not sending a replacement sacrifice. I get so sad sometimes, overwhelmed by the realization of just how terrible the things that have happened to us are. And I want to shake my fist at heaven and blame God for it. But I can’t – He holds my children in His arms. I can’t be mad at that. They are safe. But the tears still flow. I miss them. I miss her especially. I find myself thinking the phrase, “I’d give anything to…” and then I can’t finish it. Because while I want to hold my daughter again, have her back, be with her, I can’t wish her back into this life full of pain and sorrow. And I know nothing I have to give will turn back the clock and keep her from getting sick. So I’m stuck wishing and knowing it won’t change anything.
While the story of Abraham and Isaac has helped my faith in the face of loss, I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for Abraham on that mountain. He was ready to kill his own son! I know what it’s like to trust God entirely with my child’s life, but He was the one who ended it, not me. I don’t know how Abraham could have done it: tie up his son, lay him on the altar, and raise the knife. I don’t know how Isaac kept from screaming in fear so loudly that the servants would come running. I don’t know how Sarah didn’t sense something in her husband’s eyes or actions that clued her into the horror that Abraham truly believed would play out. He didn’t hesitate until the angel of the Lord spoke to him.
Yet I know what it’s like to move forward in faith as a parent, trusting God with every fiber of my being to work out everything in His perfect timing. I know He healed my daughter completely. And I know that one day I will hold her again. No amount of tears and sorrow can shake that confidence. If I cry, it’s because I’m so sad and so weary of the sorrows of this life. Just as I looked forward to Samantha’s death, I look forward to my own. I know that God has perfect timing in mind for me. Meanwhile, I will keep doing the work He has in store for me in this life. I will keep moving forward. I will not hesitate until His angel tells me to stop, to come home. That’s the call of God in my life.