I am reading through the one-year chronological Bible, where the events of the Bible are put in the order of how they occurred, and you read through the Bible in a year. Over the last several days, I have read about Isaac, Ishmael, Esau and Jacob.
The account of Isaac is always hard for me to get through. Since the time that we have been parents, we have understood that our children are a gift from the Lord and that they ultimately belong to Him. BUT! When faced with the very real possibility of death, it is all-together different. When we had to make the initial decision of whether to remove Isaiah's tumor of not, we felt almost crushed by the responsibility placed on us for his life. Individually and together, my husband Matt and I laid Isaiah on the altar just as Abraham did. We thanked the Lord for giving us the role and blessing of being Isaiah's parents but understood that he belonged to the Lord and the Lord could do with him what He desired. It is all-together different to "know" this than it is to have to "do" this when faced with death. The Lord chose to spare him. There have been several times since that first time 2 years ago where we are drawn back to that same altar. I wish that I could tell you that it gets easier. For me, it does not. I do realize that the reason I keep having to lay him back down is because I keep picking him back up! But the Lord is faithful and patient.
The account of Ishmael is also difficult for me. It's the point of Hagar in the desert where she places her son under the bush so she will not have to see him die where she encounters the LORD. Not only does He comfort her, but He provides for her everything she needs for herself and her son. He tends to her spiritually, physically, emotionally, and gives her guidance. I can so relate to Hagar in that desert just asking the Lord that if He is going to take my son home to heaven to do it quickly so that he does not suffer. The heartache is immense! Yet, the LORD was right there with her and her son! He is here with us now and is before us and behind us. He knows exactly where we are and what we need and will need.
Reading about these four men as children reminds me how much the Lord cares about our children! He is not just sitting up in heaven watching to see how we're going to work things out. He is actively involved in our life and according to Romans 8:28 He is working ALL things out for our GOOD to those that love Him and are called according to His purposes!