Sacrifice is supposed to be hard, and that’s not a bad thing

As the firstborn in my family, I had to learn how to share with my little sister. Like the Christmas when I got the newest Barbie doll and my sister always wanted to play with it. I didn’t like giving as a child, and I must admit that I don’t like it much better now.

But one thing I'm learning is that God will often ask us to give up something good (like a Barbie doll) so He can give us something lasting (like the ability to share). 

Sacrificial Isn't Supposed to Be Easy

Abraham was no stranger to sacrifice. The most significant sacrifice God makes of Abraham is in Genesis 22. Abraham had waited a really long time for God to give him a son, and God says to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). 

Has God ever asked you to give up something precious to you? Maybe, it’s a child that you've been holding too closely. Perhaps, it’s that thing you saved hard-earned money to be able to buy. It could be a position you worked for years to earn or something less tangible a dream that you’ve had your whole life. What do we do when we find ourselves in Abraham’s shoes, having to make the difficult choice between trusting God and doing what our hearts (and sometimes our friends) think we should? 

Giving Based on Faith

It would have made sense for Abraham to disregard God’s request and tighten his grip on his son. Similarly, in our situation, it might make logical sense to ignore God’s voice. No one would blame you for staking a claim on what’s rightfully yours. However, Abraham’s response was to comply. “Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac” (Genesis 22:3). As the story goes on, Abraham continues in steps of obedience. He makes the trip up the mountain, he prepares the altar, and he ties up Isaac. 

It’s in this moment when God honors Abraham’s obedience. “Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked…behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.” (Genesis 22:13). Likewise, it’s in our obedience that we can expect God to show up.

God Is Able to Supply

Hebrews 11:19 reveals why Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. It says, “He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead.” Abraham was able to be obedient because He had great faith in God’s power. Abraham trusted that God would show up and remain faithful to the promise Isaac represented. He wasn’t sure how or what that would look like, but Abraham was able to stand firm on the fact that God would not let him down. 

God doesn’t want our stuff, but He does want our hearts. When God asks us to give something up, it’s so we can receive more of Him. Abraham walked down that mountain a different man. He had a greater understanding of God’s love and provision because He was willing to give it all. 

The same is true for us when we choose to trust God. The same God that loved and cared for Abraham loves and cares for us. When God asks us to give something up to Him, it's not because He wants our stuff. It's because He wants to show us that He is good and able to take care of us.

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