At times it feels as if we are hanging hazardously from the edge of a cliff; in those moments, the only salvation is found in releasing a precarious grip in exchange for the steady hand of the Savior.
This is is the story of my “Isaac life”–the only way I know how to describe the spiritual phenomenon that allows us to simultaneously hold on and let go.
When you have a child with a serious medical diagnosis, the world and human instinct tell you to hold on tight. SEARCH for answers. DO something. HOVER to protect what is fragile. And I did those things. I scoured the internet looking for an obscure clinical trial or study. I made a mental list of everything a good mother should do and checked it twice. I fretted over every sniffle, cough and low-grade fever.
Sarah Struggled Too
Thousands of years ago, another woman reacted to a difficult situation in much the same, desperate way. She was Jewish, and I am a random mix of Dutch, Irish and Cherokee. Her access to health care was beyond limited, while I have the benefit of modern medicine at my fingertips. But the God we serve is the same then and forever, and He still keeps his promises today.
When Sarah, couldn’t conceive, she took matters into her own hands. In offering her servant to her husband, she accepted a counterfeit to God’s promise. This is often the result when we choose to control things that belong in the hands of God. But God’s grace was sufficient then, just as it is now. Isaac was miraculously born, despite Sarah’s interference, and God’s promise to Abraham would be fulfilled through him.
Then God asked for the unthinkable, and Abraham found himself trekking toward a mountain with a knife in his hand, as his teenage son trailed alongside. Abraham’s words to his servants are the key to faith that holds on while letting go.
“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”–Genesis 22:5 (NLT)
Words of Faith
Not just I, but WE. “WE will worship there, and then WE will come right back (emphasis mine).” Abraham had been asked to sacrifice Isaac–his only son, and he was willing. He chopped wood and loaded it up. He went so far as to tie his beloved son up, raising the knife high overhead. But before Abraham ever climbed the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, he spoke words that revealed the depth of his trust in God: “WE will come right back.” Abraham let go of his promised son and surrendered him fully to God, come what may. But the totality of his surrender was matched by the strength of his faith in the God who keeps promises. And God did keep His promise.
Holding on to the Promise
God has been gracious to whisper many promises to our hearts concerning Olivia. Robert and I hold tightly to those promises, even as we remove our own hands from the situation–surrendering her to our trustworthy God. At times it feels as if we are hanging hazardously from the edge of a cliff; in those moments, the only salvation is found in releasing a precarious grip in exchange for the steady hand of the Savior.
I’ll write more about the promises that we hold on to, but today I’d like to ask you to stand in prayer with us for Olivia. Below, I’ve written a short prayer that will probably be followed by many more in future posts to this blog. If God has stirred your heart in faith, will you pray? If you know others who would also pray for Olivia, will you share this post?
He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.–Romans 4:20-21 (KJV)
I thank You for your goodness and that in You, there is no shadow of change. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–You come through for your people today, just as You always have. I pray that You would strengthen our hearts with faith so that we are fully persuaded that You are able to perform your promises in our lives. Teach us not to stagger before your awesome words but to hold firmly to them and to You. I ask that You would teach us to know You better so that You are greater in our eyes than the problems that we face. May we understand your Father-heart for us and comprehend the length, width, height and depth of Your great love. Father, I thank you that your promises for Olivia are certain and that her future is secure in You. Thank you for your good plan for her life and that your purposes triumph over Satan’s plan to kill, steal, and destroy. I declare that You are Healer and ask that You bring wholeness and health to every part of Olivia’s body. Thank you for the sacrifice that Jesus made in dying for Olivia’s salvation and for the stripes that He took for her healing. I place my faith in the work that was done on the cross so long ago. As You show yourself strong in and through Olivia’s life, I pray that people would come to know You and that Your name would be lifted high. I entrust Olivia to your care, knowing that Your love for her is greater than I can fathom. As others join us in praying for Olivia, I ask that you would be faithful to fulfill your promises in their lives too.
In Jesus’ awesome name, Amen.
To read Olivia’s Story, click here.