"Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, 'Father?' 'Yes, my son?' Abraham replied. 'The fire and the wood are here,' Isaac said, 'but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'" (Genesis 22:7, NIV)
All I remember is we were crossing a field. It was a bright sunny day and Christa, my daughter was about four or five. She was trying to keep up and was a bit impatient. "Where are we going Dad?" she asked. I don't know why, but I simply replied, "Trust me, Christa."
One of my precious childhood memories was waking up in bed the morning after we'd made a trip in the car the previous evening. I had been lulled to sleep listening to the hum of the car engine. Dad had simply carried me into the house and put me to bed without my knowing about it. I had complete trust in my father's love and care.
As a parent and grandparent, I'm very conscious of how much little children trust me. I pick up my six-month-old grandson and he doesn't worry about whether I'll drop him or not. He can't speak, but we communicate. As I give him his bottle, he's as much nourished by my gaze as he is by the formula he's drinking. He knows, instinctively I think, that my love for him is trustworthy.
Isaac was perhaps 15 years old. He had always been secure as the apple of his father's eye. But this day, his dad had been acting strangely. He had gotten them up early. The men who worked for him and the donkey were ready at the crack of dawn. They had walked a long way to Mount Moriah. He hears him tell the servants, "Stay here with the animal while we go on ahead to make our sacrifice and we'll return." His dad lays the wood on Isaac to carry. He picks up the knife and the torch. They start out toward the mountain.
Isaac can see that his dad is quiet as they walk along together. Isaac trusts, but he is puzzled. Finally, he has to ask, "Father?" "Yes, son." "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said (he doesn't dare ask about the knife), "but where is the animal for the sacrifice?" Isaac knew that sacrifices require animals. He is uneasy. What is his father up to? He's never acted like this before. And his dad's answer? "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” They walk on together.
In my mind, the ancient story merges into another. There is a different Son now. He is also carrying a load made out of wood. He falls to the ground under the load. He walks with His Father beside Him to the mount—called Calvary. God Himself has provided His own lamb for the offering.
Now both the stories blend with my own. "Abba, where are we going?" "Father, this is strange and you're quiet. I'm afraid. I'm carrying this heavy burden. And you're acting differently than you've ever acted before."
And then I remember—the walk in the field, the waking up in my own bed, the way I love my grandson, Isaac's implicit trust in his father, and the Son who said, "I'm not alone for the Father is with me" (John 16:32). I realize that we who live in the light of the "once for all" sacrifice of Jesus, who walk under the shadow of the cross of Christ, do so with a loving Heavenly Father who has thought of everything, walks beside us, and supplies every need.
Warmly in Christ, Greg Aikins
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me..." (Psalm 23:4, NASB)
Is there anything you are afraid that your Heavenly Father may not be paying attention to as you walk the path you're on today?
What are you hearing the Father say to you as you share your fears with Him?
Ponder the provision of God's Lamb as a sacrifice in your place. What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you about the road ahead on your life's journey?