One of the stories that Abraham is known for is the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham waited 25 years to see the fulfillment of God's promise: that he would produce an heir - a biological son through Sarah. Then, after that beautiful baby boy became a reality (can you imagine the joy?!) God makes a deeply personal & painful request: take your son and sacrifice him. I cannot fathom the inner turmoil. The tears. The conversation with Sarah. The questions. The hurt. The confusion.
Any one of us would - most likely - stoutly refuse. Especially those of us who have experienced the misery of infertility, like Sarah & Abraham. This must be a mistake. We must have misunderstood what God was asking. Surely, He wouldn't ask such a thing. I mean...this is the only son we have, the only child we have! There must be another way.... There has to be another way. Please, God, any other request but this! Can't You see? My very heart is breaking!
And our questions belie our heart: doubt...fear...a mistrust in a God who is good, all-powerful, the Creator-Sustainer of the universe, itself who pursues us as the Beloved and calls us His blushing bride.
Abraham obeys. He believed in a God that was all-powerful. He had witnessed over the course of the past several decades the amazing reality that God does exactly what He says He will do. God had promised Abraham a son, through whom the descendants would be too many to be counted. That son, Isaac, was now a living, breathing reality. Abraham knew in his heart that if God wanted Isaac to be sacrificed, then God would either raise Isaac from the dead or prevent the sacrifice of his son altogether. What faith!
Romans 4:17, 18 "(as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants be."
I love the last part of verse 17: "...in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist."
I am slowly learning to pray scripture. It is powerful stuff! One of the ladies at our Genesis study shared how praying Romans 4:17 changed her marriage at a point when their marriage felt lifeless and dead. She prayed daily that the "God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist" would breathe new life into her marriage, into her husband, into her. She & her husband have been forever changed. Their marriage? Like life, reborn.
This is a powerful verse to use in prayer. I am starting to pray it for my own marriage, my parenting, my relationships with others, my heart, my daily walk with Jesus. So, I challenge you...is there something in your life today that feels lifeless and dead? Why not pray Romans 4:17 and see what life God can restore?