In “Fear and Trembling”, Seren Kierkegard discusses how it was necessary for Abraham to keep his eyes on the Lord during his time of trial. That if he had looked about, and perhaps spotted the ram waiting to take the place of Isaac, that the blessing for his faith would have been lost. But he did not turn, and he remained faithful, following the Lord’s command. And God was faithful to provide the ram necessary for the sacrifice. Throughout Kirk’s and my marriage, God has shown himself to be faithful to provide enough in so many areas. This season we are in, filled with trials, has been no different.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Growing up, I never really thought about all that “temptation” encompasses. Temptation is “the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid”. Daily, (hourly!), I am tempted to be impatient, to be snarky, to be frustrated, to be selfish… and yet God promises to help me find a way out of those traps. By keeping my eyes on the Lord, I can press on through these difficult times. He will provide what I need, and will bridge the gap between me and my last straw. Talking with a dear friend the other day about seasons in life, I couldn’t help but think about how the Lord allows us to be tested, allows us to be refined and yet it’s always just far enough. Like the potter making a vase, He knows exactly how hot the fire needs to be for the pot to be finished and yet not break. He knows what He is asking when He asks us to sacrifice, and God is faithful to provide the ram, the way to stand up under the temptation.
Now, God needed Abraham to be tested to the brink, He needed him to be willing to give it all to Him. He knew that Abraham only needed to go so far before He would only be able to press on by keeping his eyes on the Lord. And when he was there, at his end, God said “enough” and provided the ram for the sacrifice in place of Isaac. I am, honest to goodness, LOVING my own time of trial, because each day is the Lord providing a ram over and over and over. I can say it is only though His grace when the day is done and I have been strong, stayed patient, continued in gentleness. Just as it says in James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
And that is how I feel! Not complete, by any means, but the struggle is less hard than before, my joy greater, with just the tiniest touch more patience than yesterday. God tests my flexibility, my kindness, my humility every day, and yet knows just when I can take no more of the lesson. And if I seek in Him, He is faithful to provide enough to allow me to win the battle. I am not always faithful, but more every day. Thank you, Jesus, that you continue to refine me. Finish this work, so that I might not be lacking in anything! Please pray for continued grace, and for eyes on the Lord alone.