Don’t you love those moments when you read a story you’ve read a million times and suddenly something completely new jumps out to you? Well, something struck me recently about the story when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an altar. It’s a crazy story of faith and obedience…and yes, God provided the ram…but not until Abraham’s hand was raised and ready to strike. What struck me is that it wasn’t just a picture of faith. It was also a picture of commitment. Let me explain all the thoughts that zoomed through my mind in about a split second.
God promised Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Gen 12:2). Abraham was like us and had trouble being patient, and he tried to make that promise come about his own way. (*cough* Hagar and Ishmael *cough*). But God didn’t change his mind or give up on Abraham. He said: “I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers” (Gen 17:2). It was after this that Sarah became pregnant way past her child-bearing years and gave birth to Isaac. And here on the mountaintop Abraham is standing at another crossroads. He’s staring at a legitimate miracle baby and he’s got his arm raised ready to sacrifice his miracle on the altar. His faith wasn’t an intangible thing. It was seen by his raised arm. And it’s in that moment, when Abraham is certainly in a place of great confusion, that he shows astonishing commitment. It’s then that the angel of the Lord stays Abraham’s hand and the ram is found in a nearby thicket. After all that, I wondered….do I have commitment like that?
A split second later, I thought about one of the literary characters I adore for his steadfastness and commitment. His name is Joscelin and one of his trademark statements is: “Every day I stand at the crossroads and choose.”
After those quick -- though very full -- seconds, I wanted to take a line from another man who showed incredible faith: “Lord, I believe (I’m committed) help my unbelief” (help me stand through moments when I waver).
I hope that every day I too can stand at the crossroads and choose.