It has been a few weeks since I lasted posted anything. I took a sabbatical for 10 days. I thought unplugging and permitting my heart to be fully dedicated to the Lord would be a good use of my vacation. My family went down to eastern Oklahoma and met up with some other home schoolers and went “camping.” While there we had daily bible studies and devotionals dedicated to the theme of “Giving Your Heart to the Lord.” It seemed like an easy enough task. I was even asked to teach one of the classes for the Jr. and Sr. High kids there. Once the week began I quickly realized that giving your heart to the Lord was much more difficult to do. There are so many things that we permit to distract us from the task at hand. And more importantly, there are so many things that keep us from fully serving him because we love them more than we love God. This lesson, as I said was learned early in the week.
In fact, it was one of the first lessons I learned. During one afternoon, when we had a break to enjoy God’s beautiful creation, a group of us parents took most of the kids hiking. At the entrance to one of the more popular trails there was a good sized rock, a couple of stories tall at its highest point. We have been going there for a few years now and now the kids love climbing on it. We always tell them to be careful and let them climb. For the most part the rock is easy to climb, even my 3 year old can manage to climb it (although she was quickly removed from it). In fact, while I was removing the 3 year old from the rock I heard a blood curdling scream. My blood turned cold as ice. I knew that voice. It was my eldest son’s. I grabbed the 3 year old and dashed towards the crying out of my son. When I found him, he was lying at the base of the rock, clutching his ankle and crying out in pain. In that moment I was not certain of all that was wrong with him. What I did know is that I needed God. I needed God’s strength, wisdom and courage to not let my son see me freak out.
In the moments that followed, which seemed like hours to me, I learned a great deal about my faith. Giving God my heart requires me to give it to him, even when things are bad, really bad. In that moment I had no idea how badly my son was hurt. I didn’t know how far he had fallen. In the moment, I didn’t know how he had fallen. I just knew that he had fallen and that he was in great pain. I said my prayer. I didn’t give any ultimatums. That thought never crossed my mind. I don’t even remember asking God to make certain that my boy wasn’t hurt badly. I surrendered my will to God and simply asked him to give me strength.
When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his own son, Abraham didn’t waiver. He didn’t flinch. He took his son to the mountain God had shown him. He laid his son upon the altar and he was prepared to sacrifice his son when the angel of the Lord stayed his hand (Gen. 22). Giving your heart to God isn’t about asking God to get you out of the hard times, it is about trusting God to get you through the hard times. There is a subtle difference. One asks for the trial to be removed. The other asks that you survive the trial, that is doesn’t break you. As for me, I learned to trust Him. And you know what… he didn’t disappoint. My son was fine. Despite falling more than 12 feet and smashing his ankle against a jagged rock he managed to only have a really bad bone bruise that didn’t keep him down for too long.