When the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something completely out of your understanding, it can be a bit of a shock to the heart. The balance of obedience, faith and comfort can come into question. Let's take a peek at Abraham and his journey of surrender.
Abraham was a man of solid faith in God. At the age of 76, he was asked to leave his extended family and set out to an unknown destination. He was told by God that he would become the Father of a great nation, that he would be a blessing to others and that he himself would be blessed. Sounds like a solid promise, right? Only, he didn't know where he was going and he was in his seventies. If you've ever been nudged by the Holy Spirit to do something, you can probably put yourself in Abraham's sandals for a minute. He headed out with his wife and a group of others in obedience to God. When they reached the place God had guided them, it wasn't an instant promise fulfillment. Oh no, Abraham had to wait yeeeeeeears to see God make good on his promise. How many times have we waited on something to happen and simply gave up because it was taking too long? We can certainly learn about patience and endurance from good ole Abraham, he waited 25 years for his promise.
When we're given a glimpse into where God is taking us, we sometimes get anxious and take the reigns because we're control freaks. We start making decisions that we think will get us closer to our promise, forgetting that God is in control the whole time. Abraham was human, he was awesome but, he was so very human. He had made some seriously messed up mistakes (you have to read his full story, its captivating!) He never forgot about the promise, he continued to question God about it (Genesis 15:2-6). I can't say I blame the guy because waiting that long can make someone a little crazy. At the ripe age of 100, Abraham and his beautiful wife Sarah had a bouncing baby boy. The blessing had finally arrived, the joy must have been overwhelming. And then, God asks Abraham to do something unfathomable that puts the "big promise" back in jeopardy.
Ummm, I'm sorry, what now? (<<< This is me, every time I read this story)
God was testing Abraham... again. If you've read his story, I think we can agree Abraham's life had been thoroughly grounded in faith-building events up to this point! God wasn't finished growing Abraham's faith. What an incredibly deep trust Abraham had in God to obey such an extremely difficult ask. Abraham ultimately obeyed and God kept His promise.
After reading Abraham's story, I have to ask myself...
Will I obey like Abraham?
It's easy to applaud Abraham's display of obedience and faith as we read his story, thousands of years later. I want to put him on this pedestal of greatness so, I can ignore all of the other intensely human things he did. Yet, putting him on a pedestal takes away the part of his story so rich with growth. It's in the dirty details, the waiting, where Abraham leaned into God to deepen his faith. It was only because Abraham had a loving, personal relationship with God that he was able to obey the request to surrender his only son on an altar. I'm sure Abraham had no idea that the last part of his life would be such a rich testimony of faith.
I've recently been faced with a challenging task straight from the Holy Spirit. Its nothing like sacrificing my firstborn on an altar but, it is challenging me to the core. I have to let some things go in order to focus on the Codex Planner. Letting go of certain things when for years, I was invested in them with my time, creativity and heart. You can bet that there has been doubt, questioning, hesitation and bargaining with God about letting these things go!
As I've wrestled with the how and when to let things go, I've seen God lovingly provide opportunities or attitude shifts to step away in a gentle and appropriate manner. I am obeying and its hard, its really hard. But, I'm following Abraham's lead.
We all go through faith-building adventures tailored specifically for us. My tests of faith and my relationship with God will look completely different than yours. As our relationship with God grows so, does our trust in His promises. I encourage you to read Abraham's story for some inspiration on surrendering, Genesis 11:27-25:10.