You never know when you’ll need to surrender to love. Chances are, it’ll be a test.
Genesis 22 involves a test of surrender for Abraham and Isaac. An image of my grandson setting a tea party got me thinking about God the Father as well as Abraham in that scene.
Just as Abraham pleased God with his obedience when requested to sacrifice his son—”your only son, the one you love” (Genesis 221-2 JB)—shouldn’t we be pleased with God for His same sacrifice?
God stayed Abraham’s hand at the end of the test. “I won’t ask that of you,” He seems to say. “I have something better. I’ll offer my own Son…”
Isaac was a part of Abraham – long-desired, loved, as God noted. But he existed apart from Abraham, a separate being. And old enough to surrender of his own volition – Scripture research shows him as being in his mid-thirties when he carried the wood up the mountain for the sacrifice.
They’re all around us, you know, sacrifices like Isaac’s, at least his willingness to sacrifice himself, to lay willingly down in obedience on the woodpile.
Jesus, God’s Son whom He willingly sacrificed out of love for all people for all time on a piece of wood, was loved, too. But not apart. Jesus and the Father are one. That’s what made me focus on God the Father.
The Father’s surrender to love
Most of the time, we focus on Jesus’ suffering during His passion, and rightly so. But what about His Father’s suffering? If they’re one . . . .
Have you ever watched someone you love in pain? I’m sure you have. We know how hard it is. We want to relive their agony and often can only be present, pray, and maybe try to soothe them.
What did God the Father experience as He watched men whom He created whip His Son, drop Him into a pit of vermin and spiders? As he carried His own heavy beam? As He watched soldiers strip His Son, pound iron nails into Him, and ridicule Him?
What pain did He experience since He was one with His Son? Was the pain the same as His Son?
Is that why Jesus asked us to do unto others as we’d like to be done to? Because we’re all one – we just haven’t realized it to the fullness that the Father and Son knew? Because He knew what His Father experienced?
He knew what He felt as He and His Father watched us hurt one another over the centuries. Did He command us to love one another because He wants to spare us that pain when we come into a conscious awareness of our oneness? Some theologians call that Christ conciousness. Others call it surrender to love.
Did God the Father feel Christ’s pain?
How much agony did God the Father suffer when He had the power to halt the proceedings, to end the life of each man who brutalized His Son? Where does the Almighty God of the Universe go to mourn in silence when He is already everywhere?
Did God’s agony rip itself down the curtain of the Holy of Holies? Did darkness descend upon the entire universe when He mourned His Son’s death, or just over Jerusalem?
I know there are no answers, not now, not yet. But these questions wiggle into my mind, perhaps from God’s Spirit, desiring me to know Him more deeply.
Does He not always draw us closer to seeing as He sees, feel as He feels, love as He loves?
Love sets a feast. . .
Death isn’t the ending to the salvation story. Death has no sting with God. He is with us in everything. He knows our pain.
Jesus rose again. We believe in the resurrection of the body (Apostle’s Creed) because of Him. There is light after the darkness, life after death. God separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:3-5). Yay! He gave us a new and eternal covenant sealed with His blood. Take and drink.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
God sets a feast before us. Bread of life. A cup of salvation.
. . . and a tea party.
You may not choose to sit with God when he sets a tea party before you, as my grandson sets one each day for his little calico critters. But He won’t stop trying to feed you and have time with you. Click here for more on his little fingers and God’s hands.
You cannot run from Him. He will gently pursue you as a parent goes to a child who’s angry, hurting, or afraid. Or as a child feeds his calico critters.
Tea…? Meow …my little grandson to his Calico Critters
God knows everything. We don’t have to explain much in our prayers.
I can hide nothing from Him, but He will also not force me to surrender to Him whatever I choose to withhold. He can not force me to obey Him despite all He suffered for me . . . Love does not work like that. Can not work like that.
Can you imagine this kind of love? Will you try to release what you hold on to as He released His Son?
Can you imagine His blissful smile when you obey? And the abundant blessings that will follow?
All too often, we focus only on ourselves and how it hurts to let go. We want the control. We like the victim status. We’re used to grinding our teeth, hunching our shoulders, pulling our hair.
We each endure the agony of the moment we surrender to love as Jesus endured His surrender to His Father’s will in the garden.
God will send you your own angel to comfort you as you lean into your surrender. Just as He sent an angel for Jesus in Gethsemane’s garden.
Your sweet surrender to love may be the greatest act you make in this life.
Oh, the bliss that awaits. More sweet than a little boy feeding his calico critters. But just as tender.