shutterstock_119794141 sm

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 of which I shall tell you.” ~ Genesis 22:2 (ESV)

READING: Genesis 22

Starting our first church was very much the birth of a long-cherished dream, one I had been praying about for five years. The baby church was like my beloved child. It grew slowly but steadily, and many people became Christians. But when the church was five years old, trouble came. A divisive couple began to undermine my authority in an attempt to force my resignation.

Providentially I was preaching a series about Abraham. When I came to chapter 22, it became painfully alive to me. The Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice the one he had longed for and prayed for and dreamt about. Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise and Abraham’s guarantee of future blessing. To obey God meant the death of his dreams.

As Abraham bound his son and slowly raised the knife, I saw myself, ready to sacrifice the church I loved. God put me in a place where obedience meant helpless dependence upon Him. To face their criticism without guile or retaliation was to lay on the altar my past hopes and my future dreams. Like Abraham, I obeyed.

“…now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me,” the Lord said (v. 12) as He provided a ram for the sacrifice.

The Lord saved our church, and me, but it took my laying down my dreams on the altar. I learned the church is never “my” church. It’s always His. And He calls us to lay down everything in helpless dependence upon Him.

Father, Today I lay down my dreams and relinquish my hopes. My future is in Your hands, and I trust only in You. Amen.

Jim Carpenter