And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. Genesis 22:6
As parents, we know what it’s like to see our children come face to face with hardship. As we watch them struggle, there will be moments we agonize. “Lord, it’s too much for them!”
As we watch them come to the end of their resources, just as Jesus did in the desert of His testing, we will do about anything to end their suffering. The worst part of divine shaping is not the physical pain but the spiritual anguish. To see childlike faith crack into pieces rocks a parent’s heart. We pray constantly and ask God to preserve our children’s confidence in His love and promises.
If ever a book could be written from a single verse, today’s scripture would be one of them. What are not reflected in today’s passage are the thoughts of this father’s heart. He appears he was calm, standing in faith for Isaac, but he was still a father. And though my faith is intact, I am still a mother.
The tears of our children’s darkest moments cannot define our perspective. The stunning, end-result of their testing cannot be seen yet. We need to trust God and hold on. In the meantime, we must not afflict our children with platitudes. This will alienate them from us – the very ones they need to walk with them through the experience. What can we do, then? Share our tears, pray their stories out loud with our arms around them, and assure them that God loves them.
As a parent, we must ‘build the bridges of friendship strong enough to support the truth.’ We may squirm as we enter in to their doubts, their questions, and their tears, but we are to be willing to engage in their grueling faith walk if invited. Nothing binds families together like spiritual pilgrimage.
My child, on the other side of this desert, will be radiant and full of iron. Amen