I wrote this piece several years ago and never published it. Although intensely personal, I share it in hopes that it resonates with other mommas out there who share this same fear.
In the silence of ourselves, we sit next to one another yet worlds apart. Lost in a private fog, it never seems to lift. My husband and I have just had a numbingly long day and a weary-worn year. A very dear friend just lost her beautiful daughter to an overdose.
You know it’s terrible when you start counting. Three friends and one family member had lost their kids to drugs or alcoholism. There was something about this last one that broke us.
For a long moment, neither of us said anything, but we knew the thoughts of one another in a profoundly sorrowful way. I finally broke the silence.
“Why not him?” I asked, a soft cry catching in my throat.
A single tear trickled down my husband’s face.
“I don’t know.”
It was the first time we acknowledged to one another, out loud, what we had feared over the past several years. It seemed that every time we turned around, someone else was dying of an overdose, but not our son. Every piece of shocking news felt like the shadow of death inching ever closer…
…just a touch away.
So, why not him?
The question that inevitably followed was:
“What if next time, it IS him?”
I couldn’t stop myself from asking, even though I didn’t want the answer. My husband turned to me, both of us overcome with tears, and I’ll never forget what he said:
“I don’t know why he hasn’t died from his addiction. I don’t know what God’s plans are. But we MUST believe, no matter what, even if he dies, we can still trust in God.”
I felt the tension dissolve as he was saying the words. A freedom in my soul allowed me to give our son up at that moment…to put him on the altar for God to do what he would do. It was a relief.
God instructed Abraham to sacrifice his only son.
There is so much to this story that speaks to my heart. Early in my walk with Christ, I did not understand why God would ask such a thing from a father as sacrificing his son. At the time, I had big questions about God’s character. I had not been a Christian long enough to really know who He was.
The thing is, Abraham did know God’s character. He had a tremendous amount of trust in the Lord to be able to sacrifice out of obedience.
THAT is the focus of the story.
“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Gen.15:6 (NIV)
Did you know that this is the first mention in the bible of the words “believe” and “righteous?” I can’t help but think there is something more to learn from these words. Abram was not a sinless man, but he trusted in God. His nature to trust God – Even IF – earned him a place in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11) and his God-given name, ‘Abraham,’ father of all nations.
God tested Abraham and instructed him:
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Gen.22:2 (ESV)
Abraham followed God’s instructions and assured his son at one point:
” ‘God will provide for himself a lamb for a burnt offering, my son. So, they went both of them together.” Gen. 22:8 (ESV)
Abraham knew his God. He trusted Him no matter what.
Placing his son on the altar was not about a vengeful or selfish God striking down a boy. It was about Abraham’s complete trust in placing his son on the altar with his God. His creator. The Lord provided the lamb for the sacrifice, just as Abraham trusted He would.
I want a heart of complete trust – no matter what. I need the feeling that freedom brings; to let go of the tightness in my chest and release the breath I’ve been holding for oh, so, long. I want to be free from the bondage of dread … the dread of what the future may hold and my utter lack of ability to control the outcome. I want to trust that God will carry me through any possible grief and mourning.
I want to know I will survive…
I choose to trust in the Lord ~ even while my son continues his addiction. Even in the middle of his storm that doesn’t seem to have an ending. Even IF he never changes. Even If he continues to make bad choices. Only with God’s help, I must trust Him, even if my son loses his battle with drugs to the point of death.
It is the most difficult sacrifice, as a parent, to relinquish control that you never really had in the first place.
Months ago, the Lord firmly whispered in my ear:
“It’s his journey.”
There comes a time when we each make a choice to journey with Christ. With this in mind, it makes sense that we must release and trust our children to choose their journey with Christ for themselves. It is painful to the point of sacrifice to take our hands off, allow our kids to gather all the knowledge they have been given, and hope and pray they make the right choices.
Without question, I know the Lord stands at my son’s side, waiting patiently on him. At the same time, I know He holds our hands in comfort. He won’t let go…
…No. Matter. What.
Lord, I am taking my son to the wilderness. I am collecting all that I have in me to put him on the altar with You. Make my heart believing and righteous, like Abraham’s, fully trusting in You. And Lord, I am looking around for the lamb … You will provide the Savior.
I will wait on You.
Catherine resides, with her husband, Ian, in the small mining town of Globe, Arizona. The tug on her heart is to share with others how she overcame her greatest battles in life by groaning with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead her to find a life with peace and joy! She seeks to honor God by providing encouragement, support, and hope for women struggling with their own life altering struggles.
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