When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. Genesis 17:22-23 ESV
As soon as Abraham watched God ascend from his presence, he went out immediately to circumcise himself and every other male in his family. What a difficult act of obedience yet he didn’t put it off only to spend the next days and weeks in dread. Sometimes, the more difficult the command, the longer it takes to get up the nerve to do it. I have found procrastination to be a grave mistake.
Anytime God asks something of me, risk is involved. Someone could get angry with me. I might lose someone’s respect. I could be asked to introduce conflict into a relationship I value. I may put my life on the line. God may ask me to go somewhere that holds bad memories for me. If it’s a calling to do something new, it will most certainly involve taking on a job I don’t feel qualified for.
The last thing difficult thing God asked of me was on a November day. I wrestled badly with Him and didn’t obey until the end of February. The outcome was a miraculous one and if only I had spared myself three months of misery.
When God gives a command, there is empowerment to do it. God’s Spirit goes with us when we engage in a difficult thing. When we envision the pain of how we believe it’s going to be, we misjudge the severity because we don’t factor in God’s grace and blessing that accompanies obedience.
Abraham circumcised adult men and boys far from the infant stage. They must have dreaded what was coming. Yet we know that God’s gracious hand was manifested during those painful moments. Perhaps he gave a miraculous kind of anesthesia. He is the divine Physician, after all. The text doesn’t reveal that there was bedlam, sickness, or even weakness. If he spared them in any way, we know why. He blesses obedience and we need to factor that in ahead of time.
Whatever it is you’re putting off, take this devotional as a gentle wind that will propel you into action.
You are with me; Your influence changes everything I do. Amen