The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba. Genesis 22:15-19 (NRSV)
Do we truly seek God’s will and are we open to the work of the Holy Spirit? Even as we ask this question, in the back of our minds we should understand that we are not the Lone Ranger. God provides the Lamb. He equips us to fulfill the missions He gives us, spiritually, emotionally, physically and materially. He sends us people to walk with us and to be part of our purpose as well. He works the impossible with the ordinary, and He can make everything out of nothing.
God does ask of us both obedience and surrender, even when we fail miserably at it. Do we have a willingness to do what God asks of us, even when it is difficult or painful, or it involves the sacrifice of something priceless and irreplaceable to us?
There are rewards inherent to obeying God and being willing to surrender to Him, even if we don’t see it immediately, or the world makes it look like no good deed goes unpunished.
Jesus taught us to store up our rewards in Heaven- to live for what really matters- instead of chasing what’s temporary. Abraham didn’t live on this earth to see his legacy fulfilled, but his obedience was rewarded. He would not keep back any of his gifts from God, including his precious only son.
It’s a countercultural message to go against the tide of instant gratification and the “me, me, me” mentality.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice in great ways and we don’t necessarily see results. Sometimes we are called to keep working on a difficult relationship, or to walk with a person in crisis instead of following pop culture and leaving the scene as soon as the skies turn dark. Society doesn’t necessarily reward doing the right thing, especially when the right thing is hard or costly and it doesn’t bring forth an appreciable immediate benefit.
There is blessing in obeying God. We might not see it right away, but God notices. God cares. God provides.