My son, a 2nd year PhD student, fell way behind on his research. Much of this was due to a major comprehensive exam that, complicated by the fact that the university closed down due to COVID-19, took up almost two semesters of his time. As a result, he was unable to meet his research paper deadlines for the year. Then, three days after the exam was finally completed, a foreign student and good friend in my son’s research group lost her husband to suicide. She fell apart. The result? He had to once again lay aside his own research for the next four weeks to help her get through the trying time.
As a mom, I worried. I worried about his research and lack of research papers through the entire comprehension semesters, and I, for one, was pretty happy when the exam was over. Then came the suicide… God, the timing couldn’t have been worse!
The funeral dragged out to four weeks post-suicide, and during all this time my son was far too tired from staying up late and trying to help his friend to focus on research… “Lord, how on earth will he ever be able to catch up? How will he be able to finish his program before his grant money runs out? Why can’t You clear the way for him to focus on his research?”
If my faith reaction to this minor situation was so weak, then I would definitely have fallen apart in Abraham’s shoes. Abraham waited so long for the fulfillment of his promised son, and then, finally, after 25 years of waiting, Sarah, already well past menopause, had a baby, the promised child, Isaac.
I most certainly would have had many dips in my faith during those 25 years, but then, when the boy was in his teens, God gave Abraham a strange command: “Take your son, your only son — yes, Isaac, whom you love so much — and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (Genesis 22:2 NLT).
Wait. What? He was to sacrifice — kill — the very son he had waited 25 years to receive?
Yes, at this point, my faith would have been nothing but dust. I’m ashamed to admit that I would never be able to sacrifice the answer to a 25-year prayer! I mean, if I worry so much about my son’s research, how could I have ever even considered laying down my “Isaac”?
Yet, this is, to a somewhat smaller scale, why my son did, isn’t it? In giving those four weeks of undevoted time to his friend, time that he didn’t have to give, he was, in essence, finding himself in the same boat as Abraham. And unlike me, my son willingly laid his “baby” down. Why?
Because he knew something in his heart… The same something that Abraham knew… “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, ‘Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.’ Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Heb. 11:17-19 NLT)
Wow. That is faith!
Abraham believed that God would give him Isaac back. And in a similar way, my son believes that God would give him the time back. He took God at His word when He said, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” ( 2 Cor. 9:8 NLT)
Where did that leave me?
I had a choice to make: I could either continued in my worry and doubt, or I could join the ranks of my son — And Abraham of old! — and take a stand in faith that my son’s research would be completed — Right on time!
What about you? What are you having trouble laying down on the altar? Is it something small, like me, or is it something much bigger that God is asking you to lay down? Whatever it is, what will your answer be?
Let’s exercise Abraham-like faith! Let’s take God at His word! Never forget His promise to us through the prophet Malachi: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Mal. 3:10-11 NLT)
Whatever it is God is asking you to do, do not hesitate to comply! Instead, cast aside the worry and doubt and stand on the Truth of God’s word that He will not only provide you with everything you need, but the blessings will be so great that you won’t have enough room to take it all in!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “A New Perspective on Faith” devotional series, please click here.)