In the midst of a crisis the answer isn't always obvious but if one will just step back and remove themselves from the situation: they will often find that the solution was there all the time.
My father always taught me not to make hasty decisions. I always tried to follow his directions but now that he is gone I find myself honoring his memory the most by missing his wisdom. His words of wisdom linger with me almost every day. One thing he always taught me to do before making a big decision was to “sleep on it and see how you feel about it tomorrow”. His advice has saved me many headaches and other times I have slipped up and made too hasty of a decision to my regret.
When we read the Bible we can find numerous accounts of people who were once just as alive as you and I but have now gone on to the grave. We tend to think of these Biblical characters as some sort of super humans but indeed the Bible tells us many details about them including the good, bad, and the ugly. Many times I have read their stories and yet each time I discover something new or interesting. Many times something I never noticed or thought about just jumps up off of the page at me. That's what I love about the Bible – it is a “living Word”. No matter how many times you read it something new almost always seems to pop up: a new insight, a thought, or an encouraging word for the current situation in life.
Recently I have been studying the Akedah, (binding of Isaac) in Genesis chapter 22. We all know the story: Abraham is sent to Mount Moriah to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. On the way Isaac asks his father a very logical question - “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” His father responds that God will provide for Himself the burnt offering. The story proceeds that just as Abraham was about to slay his beloved son that an angel stops him. Verse 22 then proceeds to tell us:
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
Do you see it? The ram was right there all along! Are we to believe that the ram just got caught in the thicket only during the preparations that Abraham was making to sacrifice Isaac, or was the ram already caught in the thicket well before they arrived? Surely, if a ram was struggling in the thicket to release his horns some noise would have been made, something that would have signaled to them to see what the commotion was about? Perhaps, just perhaps, the ram was already there, caught in the thicket, when they arrived. Perhaps the ram had worn himself out by trying to loose himself so he just waited patiently for his fate.
Think of a father about to sacrifice his most beloved, promised, chosen, son. Think of the grief he must have felt. Think of poor Isaac: like a lamb led to the slaughter but offering no resistance. I am sure the tension was great. Abraham and Isaac were so caught up in their “life” moment that they couldn't even see that the ram had already been provided. It was only after the crisis was over that Abraham “lifted up his eyes” and then he found what God had already provided.
Now I know that Abraham's faith was being tested and I know this had to be played out prophetically, but nonetheless, can we see a life lesson here?
This is what jumped out at me: sometimes we are too close to a situation, sometimes we may feel pressured to make an immediate decision, sometimes we feel trapped and afraid, sometimes the fear is overwhelming, sometimes we don't see a way out, sometimes all hope seems gone, sometimes.....
The ram has been there all along! Step back, take a breath, slow down, stop assuming, stop analyzing, stop listening to bad advice, stop......
And just “lift up your eyes”!
He, the Great and Mighty El, is our provider! He sees! He hears! He knows all! He hasn't forgotten you, He knows your situation, He sees your desperation, and He will provide!
Maybe this was just for me, I don't know? We are living in crazy times, but so did they. As the wisest man who ever lived once said: there is nothing new under the sun.
Whatever you may be facing just remember that God is always a step ahead of you. What you need tomorrow, or next week, or next year, is already there waiting on you; just like the ram was already there waiting on Abraham and Isaac.
Take courage in these difficult times and may His shalom (peace) cover and saturate each one of you!