Within the faith circles I’ve been raised there is, often, this implied message that if one has received a promise in scripture (Jesus heals our diseases) then if one is to do or say anything that appears to suggest that one believes the promise may not come to pass one is FAITHLESS. In some ways it paralyzed my faith. I was so concerned about appearing faithless that I would, in certain situations, often feel guilty or, worse still, give no expression to my faith at all.
An example of this occurred almost exactly one year ago. Our daughters’ temperature spiked several days after her last round of chemotherapy. It had never done that before. And all the information we had specifically stated that if it did we were to present to the Emergency Room (ER). We were all scared. And felt disoriented.
To be honest we were starting to shift into celebration mode. No more chemo. She would receive a clean bill of health. Jesus is our Healer. Then this. The specialist we called after hours told us to pack an overnight bag, as she would be admitted probably for several days. Our daughter did NOT want pack the bag as an act of faith that Jesus would heal her. I did want to pack the bag and felt utterly faithless.
I will return to this story in a moment.
Some time later I read the story of Abraham, Isaac, 2 servants, a bundle of firewood and a ram in a thicket and experienced, for lack of a better word, a revelation.
Perhaps in sharing it I will encourage some in their particular journey.
“”Abraham…take your son…whom you love….Sacrifice him … as a burnt offering on a mountain”…Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey….He said,….”Stay here with the donkey…We will worship and then we will come back to you”….. Abraham built an altar….He bound his son and laid him on the altar……the Lord called out to him….”Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son…”” ~Genesis 22:2-12
What if the greatest act of faith we can demonstrate is to pack up our promise or dream? What if the dearest thing to us seems to be requested of us? Our child? Our spouse? Our career? Our health? Our freedom?
Will we grasp that person or thing tightly to ourselves or hold it loosely? Will we trust God in the midst of a set of circumstances that seem to be the opposite of the dream or promise we hold so dear?
I’m not sure Abraham trusted that God would keep his son alive but I AM sure he trusted that God would keep His promise (to make his descendants into a nation). And so he packed ‘his bags’ so to speak. And climbed a mountain. And built the fire. And bound his son. And raised the knife.
I thought, again, of packing the bag for the hospital admission. It felt faithless. But it wasn’t. We prepared for a journey the Lord appeared to be calling us on.
Now back to the story.
They drew blood as soon as we got to the ER. They discovered supremely low infection-fighting cells (WBC) and obvious infection (the fever) which meant a night in ER, as there was no bed for her.
They drew more blood as they prepared to admit her 9 hours after arriving at the hospital.
We prayed for a miracle.
They moved her upstairs as an inpatient.
We prayed for a miracle.
Everyone we spoke to explained that it would be days before her WBC count bounced back and during that time she would remain hospitalized.
We asked what would be required for her to go home that day. They said it would be impossible as her WBC count would have to rise and her fever disappear. Hours went by while we waited to be seen by the doctor. I frequently checked with the nursing station to see if the most recent blood work had come back.
I left the hospital without my daughter so I could nap before an evening shift.
Then - I heard them at the door of our home. My husband and my daughter. The blood work had come back and ‘some how’ the WBC was better than it had been in weeks. Her fever was gone. The resident could see no reason to keep her so they discharged her!
And just like that they “packed up their firewood and came back down the mountain”.
In that moment I saw that packing the overnight bag and obediently driving to the hospital was not faithless. It, in fact, provided a beautiful backdrop for a miracle of God.
Sometimes faith is hanging on – I agree.
But sometimes, sister, faith is letting go.
Would you be willing to pack up your dream?
“Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”