Originally posted on September 5th, 2006
Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Genesis 22:9
I woke up early this morning, early enough to see the sun rising from my kitchen window. There was a mist lingering over the forest. I walked down the gravel lane to the county road where the container for our morning newspaper stands next to the rural mailboxes. It's such a nice morning, I decided to take my Bible, my copy of My Utmost for His Highest and coffee to my front porch.
It is not quiet "at the edge of the forest, in the country". The creatures of the forest are distracting me, those that fly and those on the ground. I enjoy sitting on my porch, especially in the early morning. I love my house, it is more personally me than any house we've owned or rented. The young family who owned it before us bought it as their first home and moved only when their third child was on the way. I knew the moment my realtor took me through it that it was a well loved home with many "upgrades" done by those who came before us. This was the first and only house she showed us (being not only a friend but we'd bought and sold our previous house through her). She knew this was "me" and she was right.
We had been going through a time of extreme, severe trials. We had moved back here from Michigan and had been forced to rent an ugly townhouse with neighbors who scared us. We were pretty sure one group of young people who lived at the "far end" of the row for awhile were selling drugs, especially after the police raid. There were a couple of women of "ill repute" who were neighbors while we were there. The worst was a drunk who played loud music all the time and never slept. We shared a wall with him.
I asked God over and over for a house of our own again. I'd be happy if I just had a house of my own. PLEASE get me out of this place. Only a few years before we had owned a gorgeous, large house in a beautiful neighborhood and now we lived on what seemed like...skid row. (Someday I'll share the story.) Not what we expected when my husband was in graduate school or when he was still working as an engineer.
To make a very long story short, after my husband had been put on disability, we qualified for a Department of Agriculture loan to purchase a house in the country. He not only gave me a house, he gave me the house. There is great joy when the house you love is a house you can afford.
We found this house in late Autumn, the paperwork was all done and we were packed by Christmas. We were just waiting for the monthly funds to arrive at the local Department of Agriculture so we could close. Then we got the call from our realtor...bad news. The government only sent half the amount they were suppose to get. There was not enough money to cover many mortgages, including ours. We'd have to wait until January but that also meant we'd lose this house (a stipulation of our offer).
I did a lot of crying and mentally shaking my fist at God. I told Him he was cruel, He'd demanded too much from me, He'd taken too much from me. I was not happy when I went to bed that night. The next morning, I quieted enough to hear from Him. Not verbally but within my spirit was the voice. Is the house more important than your relationship with me? Do you serve me only for what I will give you? Is the Giver less important than the gift? I knew.... I told my daughter that day, He was asking me to lay my Isaac down...my "child of promise". That which I'd begged him for so many years and was almost in my grasp. He wanted to know if it was of more importance to me than Him. Just as He'd asked Abraham long ago.
Isaac, the child of promise. How could Abraham tell those with him that he and the child would return? He'd walked this road before. Not the exact same circumstances but he had been tested along the way. He'd chosen the Giver and not the gift. He was a friend of God, he knew the character of his Friend. If God took, He'd give back. He was giving Abraham a lot, the Covenant with his Friend would change the world forever. I'm certain there were angels around, holding their breath, knowing far more than the human what this would mean to the world. Everything depended on this...the promised child now, the promised Child to come.
The lamb arrived in the thicket then...so did the call to us, a couple of days later. A miracle, this has never happened before. The remainder of the money had arrived at the office.
We could close, the house was ours, Isaac would not be taken.