Until you lay your Isaac down
Sitting ‘cross the table, two mugs placed just before, I’m telling a story. Of a mother, filled with fear. Of a long and difficult journey. Of the slow, sure steps to victory, and the whisper that came one day.
I’m meeting with a friend. She’s bearing long, listening kind as I tell her how it happened. Tell her where I’d been. I tell her where I’d come from, and where, by grace, I am now.
It was early one morning that I’d awakened, heart heavy, thoughts churning like sea waves, to hear the whisper of The Friend:“Unless you lay your Isaac on the altar, this will never work.” Lying in the predawn dark, I’d listened, still. And the seed, it fell to the ground…
Then came a ‘chance’ meeting that wasn’t, really, and several days later, a story. I told how I’d listened, spellbound, to a giant of a woman, one from the tribe of the Fire Walkers, those who’ve been through fire and flood. Who’ve been through hell itself.
I’d hung that night on every. Single. Word. Cancer, three times. A bankruptcy, once. And two (oh, two) running kids. This was no novel; no fiction account, for the truth can be far bloodier than fiction. This was her story, her chronicle of faith, and I waited, breathless, as she told it.
“I was in my laundry room one day,” she said, “and He gave me Ps. 118:27, ‘Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.’ He said,‘This right here is your altar.’”
The coffee shop where we’re sitting has faded away, and in all the world, it’s me and her, the Woman Who Walked Through the Fire. She continued, “So I took an object that I could write on, and I wrote my children’s names all down.” Even now, the tears spring quick. “Then I took a cord, a rope, and I wrapped it around as a symbol.” Just remembering, my throat, it’s thick.
“It was,” she said, this fire-walking woman, “the hardest thing I’d ever done, and I cried (at that altar) when I did it.” And the seed, it sent down roots…
I’m telling the story to my friend, the kind, kind listener. Looking at her across the table, I say, “The next morning, I did just that. Right here in this spot, I laid them out–one, two, three and four, and I put them on the altar.” My four Isaacs, bound with cords in a line upon an altar.
Her eyes, they, too, well up with tears. “And then this one thing more. I said, ‘Me, too,’ and I laid myself right down.”
Today, I want to tell you what I told my friend. That incredible day was the first that this formerly fear-full mama had been able to surrender her kids. And it brought the most peace I’d ever known. That seed, it’s beginning to flower…
“As long as you’re down in front, stirring around, trying to control outcomes, you hinder My working in their lives.” That’s what Father had said. And I’ve come to realize since then that the ‘control’ I was grasping to keep was just an illusion. That’s all.
So, you. With all my heart, I ask you to lay your own Isaacs down upon the altar. And then lay down yourself, binding it all with cords to those horns. It frees Him to work. It will bring you such peace, and you’ll be overjoyed at what happens.
“Stop!” It’s the Voice, thundering from the clouds. “Abraham, stop, and turn around.” There in the thicket, a ram. And the cords were cords of love.