After these things God tested Abraham. . . . God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering.” Genesis 22:1a & 2
Abraham had two sons. His first son, Ishmael, birthed by Sarah’s servant Hagar, was sent away into the wilderness with Hagar because of jealousy within Abraham’s household. Therefore, the sacrifice of Isaac represented the second time Abraham would lose a son. Whatever we make of God testing Abraham’s faithfulness, the prospect of losing a child makes a parent’s blood run cold. Our children are our most precious possessions, and we treat them as such. We don’t ever want to lose them . . . even when they frustrate us.
However, our children are not our possessions, they are God’s, and inevitably we have to turn our children over to that divine relationship. Like all things in life, we need to let go of that which is dear to us . . . because it is not ours. We are finite beings who are merely stewards in this life, managing the resources and relationships entrusted to our care. Whether it is handing over a set of car keys to our sixteen-year-old, dropping a newly minted college freshman off at their dorm room, or watching as a son or daughter takes the hand of another in marriage . . . we need to let go. We need to let go and trust that the God who has been a faithful provider for us will be so for those we love and desire to hold on to. As the religious cliché goes: Let go, let God.
What child, or significant relationship, are you having difficulty letting go of?
Lord, I cannot imagine sacrificing my children, and yet, in a way that is exactly what we do. We tend to their needs for only a while, then offer them back to You, trusting that You will take care of them more completely than we ever could. Please strengthen that trust when it is not as durable as it could be. I pray this in the name of a Son, offered to the world by a Father, Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN.