We’re all too familiar with God bidding us away from bad things. We struggle with depravity but accept His call with excitement to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-24). We leap for joy out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). But when He says to let go of something good, it’s a bitter-sweet goodbye.
There’s plenty of good in the life we lose to find Jesus (Matthew 10:39). Sometimes it’s in the form of a hobby we give too much attention, or an opportunity His Spirit whispers no to. Sometimes it’s family, friends, or what you expected the future to hold.
If God asked you to sacrifice your greatest possession, would you do it? What if it was the fulfillment of His promise you had waited years to obtain? Would you lay it on the altar? What if it was your child?
Isaac, the son of promise, was a picture of Jesus.
“Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” …
On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” … Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” …
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him … “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Genesis 22:2-18 NASB
The Seed That Falls into the Ground and Dies
When God asks us to give up something good, we will find He has something better in store, and more importantly—He wants our heart. He isn’t cruel and withholding, but a caring and generous Father. Besides, He didn’t ask Abraham to do something He wouldn’t do Himself. Generations later He did not withhold His Son, His only Son, whom He loves, Jesus.
Before Jesus predicted His death in John 12, He said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (vs. 24-25 NKJV).”
Like Abraham’s obedience with Isaac, God blessed all the nations of the earth by giving up Jesus. Through the death and resurrection of His Son, like a grain of wheat falling into the ground, He produced many sons and daughters.
Last year, as I listened for a whisper from God in a quiet-time, I heard something I didn’t understand.
“Rock of Moriah.”
I had to look it up, and wasn’t excited about the implications of it being where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. Through weeks of prayer, He revealed I needed to lay on the altar the promise of preaching His word and my expectations of how that would happen. If I hadn’t been able to give up that good thing, I wouldn’t have received His recent calling into the mission field.
He is again asking me and my family to trust Him enough to let go of good things, but this time our friends and family are having to let go as well. Along with the excitement for adventure with God on the horizon, there’s a tinge of pain knowing the conversations with my pastors and friends at the Crossing Church are about to become much fewer and farther between. A deeper ache comes with Trinna and I putting physical distance between us and our family. They started feeling our absence months ago, and it’s getting stronger with our move coming in three short weeks.
But ultimately we are trusting God to take care of us—and our family and friends. We know He will take this grain and create a harvest. This week Pastor Randy (Lead Pastor at The Crossing) brought us before the church to pray for us and send us into the mission field. It was such an honor and blessing! Watch it here:
Is He Asking You to Say Goodbye to Something?
What is God asking you to let go of? Even if it is something good, and a bitter-sweet goodbye, you can trust Him to take care of you. Comment below with a story about something God called you to let go of, and how He proved Himself trustworthy in the process.