Waiting Well

I want to use this week’s blog post to share an article that Cynthia Yanof has written. Cynthia works with Jim and me at the Denison Forum, and we have had the opportunity to pray for her family this past year as they have adjusted their lives to include a foster baby into their home. Foster care is a huge need in our culture—and a calling for the Yanof family. The past year has been both difficult and fulfilling as they have come to love and cherish the new member of their family. Cynthia’s article is written from her heart and speaks to all of us who have been called to wait on the Lord’s timing and trust him with those we love. When I read her words, I knew you all would be blessed to read them as well. Join us in praying for this special family.

Patience may be a virtue, but I’m not very good at it. I’m in a period of waiting right now. In fact, my entire family has been in a holding pattern for the last six months or so. I would love to say that I have some profound insight into the art of waiting or that I have learned to wait patiently and with great expectation and faith. Sadly, all I know is that I really hate waiting, and I hate it even more when I have no control while I wait (darn you, control – but I’ll save that for another day).

Recently all of our friends joined me in praying as we “waited” for a very important phone call related to our foster baby and his placement. I received a text from someone in our ministry saying that our situation must be similar to how Abraham felt in Genesis 22 when God told him to sacrifice his son. And how nothing could be harder than trusting a child you love completely to God and having utterly no control.

Because I’m “waiting,” I’ve had plenty of time to consider Abraham’s act of faith on Mt. Moriah that day. How the Lord told Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering to the Lord. And how Abraham followed the Lord’s command and headed off to Mt. Moriah, where ultimately the Lord spared Isaac’s life and provided a ram as the sacrifice instead of Isaac.

A few things that I had not considered before:

  1.  The Lord commanded Abraham to make this extreme sacrifice and scripture says that “early the next morning” Abraham loaded up Isaac and headed to Mt. Moriah.
  2. Isaac was savvy enough to see that his father had no sacrifice (i.e. animal) with them, and when he asked Abraham about this, Abraham answered that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”
  3. Abraham’s act of faith was massive, and the Lord promised to bless Abraham’s obedience by making his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Abraham’s incredible testimony that day made me wonder when did God last ask us to go to a desperately hard place like this and our answer was yes? I mean, “early the next morning” we packed up and went to that place and didn’t ask questions? When have we last said yes to God and done it with “no animal sacrifice”—as in, no back-up plan—so that we were forced to trust that God alone would provide? (Because if I’m Abraham I can promise you I would have brought a ram, sheep, and two deer just in case God needed options and hadn’t thought it through completely.)

And I love that God came through at just the right time and blessed Abraham by sparing his son. This is a great reminder as I incessantly repeat my current mantra that “God is never late.” Mt. Moriah became sacred that day with Abraham’s simple act of faith. There are many more stories of faith at Mt. Moriah, including the Jews later rebuilding the temple on Mt. Moriah—now known as Jerusalem—following their captivity in Babylon. And as far as Abraham’s descendants, they did prove to be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and Jesus, no less, is one of them.

So as I continue with my family in this time of waiting and praying God’s best for our foster baby, I think a lot about Abraham that day and why God even asked that of him. Why go through the exercise if he ultimately wasn’t going to require such an extreme sacrifice in the end? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that the more I live in God’s word and try to figure out His will, I realize that we are all called to a Mt. Moriah at some point. Called to give complete control to God in some place. It may be handing over our perceived control of a child, our marriage, finances, or just our plans for our lives. Wherever our Mt. Moriah is, the Lord has called each of us to a place of sacrifice that requires blind obedience and really raw faith. And oftentimes when you make that decision and do it, there’s some significant waiting in store.

What’s the result of such obedience? The opportunity to experience firsthand the Lord’s faithfulness and blessing. More than that, it might just be that the Lord will use your act of obedience to change lives around you in such a way that generation upon generation will know and worship the Lord. In other words, kingdom building.

Genesis 22 ends by saying that from that day forward, Abraham called Mt. Moriah “The Lord Will Provide.” Abraham knew the Lord’s provision firsthand because he trusted and lived his Mt. Moriah experience well. The text I received from our dear friend ended this way, “The place where Abraham gave his son to God became the place where the temple was built and generations of people gave their lives and worship to the Lord. You and your family are building a Mt. Moriah today.”

If you are waiting right now like we are, I pray you will embrace your Mt. Moriah and be obedient to what the Lord has called you to. When you do, you can be sure of his faithfulness, and that the Lord can and will use your obedience to bless generations to come.

Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How do you celebrate Lent in your family?