Passing the Test~The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood

Genesis 22:1-14

22:1 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 22:2 He 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 on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.  22:4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away.22:5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.”  22:6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.  22:7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  22:8 Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.  22:9 When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  22:10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.  22:11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  22:12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  22:13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  22:14 So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

When we have times in our lives of severe hardship or difficulties, Illness, bereavement, debts, homelessness,or employment issues ,it can be all too easy for us  to either blame God or to think God has abandoned us. But this is far from the truth. As true Christians and children of God we should know that our Father in heaven loves us far too much to abandon us. Just as in the scripture above when the Lord tested Abraham’s trust and faith when he asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, we also must from time to time have our faith and trust tested. This is because it is far too easy for us to say we love and follow the Lord when we are in the good times and all is going well. It is in the difficult and trying times when we prove to our heavenly Father that we are indeed sincere in our relationship with him and as such, at times we need to be tested. Abraham shows us by his actions just how strong his love and faith in God truly was and we should strive to be likewise.Even the hard times that may not in themselves be a test of faith may indeed be true blessings in disguise which the Lord will show us if we love and have true faith in him as our heavenly father and saviour. An example of this from my own life is that I was brought up in an extremely abusive family, where I was put in care and forgotten as I was not loved and wanted. I was placed in horrid places with locked doors at aged 10 because they mistook my young age temper tantrums as bad instead of realising I was hurting inside. Everyone always treated me as a nuisance to the world. However my love and faith even at that young age was strong and I knew in my heart that the Father loved me and had plans for my life.Yes, I went through years of illness and trauma, but no matter what, my faith remained, and in fact heightened. The Lord showed me the hate and dischord that was in the world, and I knew more and more as I grew older that I was being called to show the Father’s light of love to those we as human’s have placed in darkness by hardening our hearts. I remained strong in my faith and the Lord brought me to a place where now I can do that which the Lord has called and prepared me to do for his people. Although not the same test as was given Abraham, it still has shown my sincere love, trust and faith in God. There has been, and no doubt there will be further, tests, but my heart will remain strong and faithful to God as did Abraham’s. The Lord will always be there eternally for each of us, we only need to trust and have faith in him and he will never fail us. So we should accept troubles and tests with joy in our hearts. My trust and faith in our God is strong, How about yours?

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