On the Altar

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
(Genesis 22:9)

Well friends, I’m back after a protracted blogging hiatus. At least, I’m partially back. There are several competitors for my time these days, most of which occur in my analog life.  But I have missed you and am trying to read a handful of posts each day.

This is a crazy season for our family. My girls are thriving – exploring who they are, growing in faith, and learning some important communication and time-management skills (because, really, this fall has been brutal schedule-wise).  It’s been insane but in a fun and exhilarating way.

Then there’s our prodigal… In his case, this life season is something less than exhilarating. Something much less.

But as I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed for him and for others who resist the Lord’s call to obedience, it’s my own resistance which I’m forced to confront.

Once again, God brings my attention back to the beginning – both the book of Genesis and the genesis of my own faith journey.

Figuratively speaking, I trek in the footsteps of Abraham as he traveled to Moriah along with Isaac, the promised son. For much of my calling is a call to sacrifice.

For perhaps the first time, I find myself more like Abraham on this trip. In the past when my King has called for me to meet with Him in the smoke of a sacrifice, I’ve hesitated. In moments I’m now ashamed of, I’ve even been guilty of begrudging Him the offering He’s asked of me.

Not today.

Today as I step up to the altar, the ashes of the past serve as reminders of the things I’ve burned here before and of what’s become of them.

The ashes of a career lays in the mix; remnants of the time I offered up my aspirations and financial comfort on these old stones. Though I barely knew my Lord back then and believed I would be staying home for 5 or 6 years, experience now superimposes the glory of God over the sooty remains.

I became a homeschool mom. The 5 or 6 year span stretched out into 17 years and counting.

Today I can say, as Abraham once did, “The Lord will provide,” because He has – far more than I would’ve guessed. My sacrifice seemed large at the time, but what God provided in the aftermath is massive. Superfluous even.

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
(Genesis 22:14)

Since those early years, God has called me back to the altar from time to time and other remains lay scattered in the dust; charred fragments of my time, my convenience, my preferences, many of my dreams, my sense of control – a whole lot of me, when I think of it.

Not for nothing did the old German preacher, Dietrich Bonhoeffer write, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Much of what Christ called me to sacrifice on this altar is myself. Just as He once did. His immaculate life for me and my grubby little speck of a life for Him. Words can’t do it justice.

Today, I once more stand symbolically where Abraham, my father according to the Promise, once stood literally; feet covered in ash but a heart full of trust. For now I know that anything I offer up in obedience to His call will not die in vain. Either its death is a necessity for the better plan of the All-Knowing God, or He can and will raise it from the dead. I have not only read of this matter in the Book, I have seen it with my own eyes.

This time, I approach with a dual offering.

For the first, I lay down my goals for You, Lord. On this altar I place the writing career I’ve been trying to eke out in my spare time over the last couple of years. Do with it as You will.

And for the most profound, I give you the son of my womb whose name translates, “He gave.” You did give him to us, and you know him better than I ever could. I have done with him all I know to do and he is now nearly a man. And Lord, it grieves me immensely to say he seems to be rejecting You.

I set the life of my son on this altar before You, Lord, trusting that even if I must watch his faith in You die, You are able to raise it up from the dead.

He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
(Hebrews 11:19)

And I wait with eager expectation to see what You will do…

14 thoughts on “On the Altar

  1. The Lord never asks any of his people to do something he would not do himself. The sacrifice of a Son? He’s been there; he’s done it. And that alone gives value to the sacrifices we lift to him. J

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. It’s really just the illusion of control I offer Him. The truth is, I never really own anything. My son is His and was entrusted to me. Whatever comes of my scribblings is His, too, and it’s only the illusion of control I surrender to Him. But as you said, it is BECAUSE of His sacrifice that I know I can trust Him with mine.


  2. Dear Heather, I offer my sacrifice of praise to Him for bringing you where you are today; the same way He brings all His children; the same way He must bring your son. We praise Him for trusting him to you all these years, not to depend on you to do His work but to be the example to him of what our heavenly Father does in those who belong to Him. Continue to hold the image of Christ within you, rejoicing in the Lord always and loving him no matter what he says or does. A Sheep’s View, a page on my blog, may encourage you concerning the whole of the Lord’s will and work for you. We pray His continued blessings as you serve and sacrifice all to HIm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will check it out! It is amazing the peace I have when I fully submit to Him. It’s made me check myself anytime that peace is missing, for I know the cause is most likely me struggling against some area of surrender. Thank you, Frances, for your continued encouragement and prayer. May our Lord continue to be gracious to you and yours and fill you with His joy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In my eigtheith year, the Lord continues to amaze me with His grace and goodness, knowing and leading as only He knows how to accomplish all for which He has created and redeemed. The peace and joy grow sweeter every day, even as we experience the war between the Spirit and the flesh.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather this really spoke to me. I needed a reminder of that story and the readiness Abraham had. There is a season of hardship with finances right now and I feel like I just need to work on faith and trust. To keep going forward, and recently it has felt very hard to do so. My worrying and less of certainty and control has wanted to take anchor of my thoughts. But even so, God is so much bigger than that. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally relate to that, T. R.! I’m glad it spoke to you. God continually brings me back to Genesis in my studies and my meditations. So much to mine in that one book alone!

      We’re at a crazy season, too, where I am working very, very part time and my husband feels enormous pressure. Then our son totaled our van (thankfully unhurt) and it just keeps coming. While I was sincerely hoping to have a book contract or something in that direction by now, I also see that due to the logistics with two vehicles and three teens, I wouldn’t have time to meet contract deadlines! There is so much more He is still showing me, too… It is so good to be His child, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

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