God told Abraham to take his one and only son whom he loved so much, and to go up the mountain to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Abraham obeyed and went because he knew the character of God and knew of His goodness, mercy, love, and power. He knew that God could even bring Isaac back from the dead if He so chose.
But what a painful journey that must have been for Abraham. He had to make the climb. He had to walk side by side with his precious son with the knowledge that God would soon be taking him away. Their journey up the mountain took a few days, probably the longest and most anguish filled days of Abraham’s life. Abraham was called a friend of God. Yet here he was making a climb that would knowingly lead to his beloved son’s death. And this was ordained by God. Well…we all know how the story turns out…that at the very last minute God stops him and says that now He knows that Abraham loves God above all, and God provided a ram caught in the thicket to be slaughtered instead for the offering.
12:27 AM. Here I lie in my bed with my daughter right beside me who is dying. She is taking only 5 heavy breaths per minute. She may not last through the remainder of the night. My heart is in the greatest pain and anguish that it has ever known. I think I can relate to what Abraham was feeling on the way up the mountain. He knew that he only had a few days left with his most beloved son.
And so I too am climbing Mt. Moriah where God, the One I love who also calls me friend, has asked me to offer my daughter up to Him for His glory for reasons beyond my understanding. And I know that God is loving, merciful, kind, and powerful. I know that He has the power even to raise her from the dead should He so choose. But, like Abraham, I too must simply trust Him for His perfect plan to be revealed, whatever the results may be.
I am ascending Mount Moriah and I know what waits at the top. Unless He intervenes at the very last minute, it is very apparent that His will is to call my daughter home to glory. Oh the anguish of my heart! This might very well happen this night, I don’t know. I don’t understand why this is the way He has chosen for Susana and us. It does not make sense to me.
But here’s what I do know: He is good! His love endures forever. Being called home to glory is the Christians final victory! He is using this to bring great glory to His name. Its certainly not the way that I would have chosen, but I’m not God. He is. And I am so thankful that He is. For His power has overcome the grave. My daughter will not be laid to rest. She will rise and meet Jesus and be more alive than she ever has been. How could any person who knows and truly loves Jesus ever stay angry at such a glorious truth? He has purchased us by His blood. He has made a home for us forever with Him where we will be made perfect.
Knowing these things does not lessen the anguish and pain that we feel at the reality of being temporarily separated from our precious daughter. But knowing these things gives our pain purpose, and that makes all the difference in the world. Knowing these things enables us to continue to testify of His goodness and grace even in our heart’s greatest anguish.
And that’s why, amidst our climb up Mount Moriah, amidst our anguish, grief, and tears, we can also worship Him and sing of His glory. And that’s what we did tonight. As we were told by the nurse that she may not last here much longer, I had a special time kneeling by her bedside and saying my goodbyes. I asked her if she was ready to see Jesus and she nodded her head yes. I held her hand and told her how privileged I am to be her Daddy and how now Jesus will be her Daddy who will love her and cherish her forever. And then I picked up my guitar and worshiped. Through great sobbing and tears, I sang to my little girl. And this is what I sang over and over: “Oh no, You never let go, through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go, every high and every low. Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me. And I can see the light that is coming for the heart that holds on. And there will be an end to these struggles, but until that day comes…Still I will praise You. Still, I will praise You Lord.” Yes, my voice sounded terrible through my wailing and sobbing, but I worshiped. I gave God my heart and surrendered. I declared His goodness even while seeing my daughter dying. For I am ONLY able to do this knowing for certain that she will not die. She will rise into glory, into the presence of the One whom we love and worship. What grace He has given to His children.
And then we worshiped some more on our way up the mountain. The whole choir from our church (about 50 or so) came to our door step tonight to bring worship to our house. They all gathered by candlelight on our front lawn and then gathered around us and just sang worship songs to Jesus. Maria and I cried so hard…and we worshiped. We lifted our hands to the Sovereign One and we sang praises to His holy name. Susana heard it from her bed. And it was beautiful.
And so, perhaps we are only a few footsteps away from the top, or maybe still a stones throw, only the Lord knows. The climb up this mountain has been the most agonizing journey we have ever had to take. Both Maria and I feel like our hearts inside of us are literally breaking. And yet we continue to hear story upon story upon story as to how God is being greatly glorified by bringing people closer to Himself and increasing people’s faith in leaps and bounds through using us and Susana as His instruments. And both Maria and I both wonder how something that can cause so much good also cause us the greatest anguish that we have ever known.
And then we think of Jesus and how glorious His death was. God was more glorified in His death than in anything else ever…yet the pain and anguish that Jesus and others felt was the greatest that they had ever known. For the road to crucifixion with the sins of the world upon Him was certainly more full of anguish than any of us will ever have to bear.
And so, by His grace, we continue our climb, through both heaving sobs and lifted hands…