So, why would God ask you to do something that would require incredible sacrifice from your family in order to carry it out? So, you lay it all on the line, go in with faith that requires reckless abandon, and pursue, pursue, pursue. Yet, roadblocks form, and as it turns out, you are unable to carry out what you were certain God was leading you to do. Why would God ask you to do such a difficult thing, only to have you fail before you even get there? Well, he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham brokenheartedly obeyed, made the preparations. He must have been so confused, thinking this did not make any sense-this child was his promise from God…Then, he got there and God released him from the mission just as he raised the knife. So, what was the point of the whole mission? I never understood that story or even made much attempt to, until recently. But now, I think I have a beginning of a sense of what God was doing.
He was breaking Abraham’s heart, making sure that the very gifts that He had given Abraham were not becoming idols in his life. He was also exercising Abraham’s faith muscles as well as his obedience muscles. God never intended for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God did not change his mind and have mercy on Isaac and Abraham at the last minute. I believe that God planned all along to retract his command for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I also believe He knew Abraham’s heart, and He knew that Abraham would be heartbroken over the command but would obey out of his bigger love for God. He knew that Abraham would pass the test. God never gives us a test where we are set up to fail. He gives us tests where we are set up to grow. So, for those times when we are “led” to do something and it fails, sometimes we may very well have totally flubbed up hearing what He wants us to do, missed the mark, screwed up to put it crudely. Or, we may have made some other error along the way.
Or, perhaps, He never intended for the plan to succeed in the first place. Perhaps the “success” is in the obedience, not in the end result that we envisioned. The “success’ is in the “willingness” to set out on the journey, not on reaching the destination. And, on a side note, in other cases, where He does intend for us to reach the destination but perhaps we do not make it there due to, say, some “error” we make along the way, do we really think that we are big enough to overcome the will and plans of God? After all, as they say, Abraham was “too old,” Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, David was an adulterer, and Elijah was suicidal. The list goes on. I mean, really, can we honestly believe that we can escape the will of God just by one mistake, or two or even three? “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10.
So, it is pretty freeing to think that God will not allow us to miss His will for our lives or to mess up so badly that His purpose for our lives is overridden by our humanness. So, when we pursue an avenue that we are “led” to pursue, and it does not “work out” we can rest in knowing that perhaps the test was in the obedience. Or, perhaps we were mistaken in taking that path, but the obedience in pursuing a path we believed was of Him is still honored, and He will set us on the right path. His mercies really never end. Deep breath. Soak in the grace, mercy, and freedom to fail, and His love that is so deep and so wide that we literally cannot flee from it.