Sunday, June 8, 2008

Excerpt from When I Lay My Isaac Down

"I had much to learn about heart sacrifices. As defined by the dictionary, a sacrifice is "an act of offering to a deity something precious, something offered in sacrifice; it's surrender of something for the sake of something else, something given up." True heart sacrifices involve:

- identifying something precious to us (our Isaac)
- letting go of our control over the situation, event, or the person as an act of worship
- embracing God's love in the process of the release
- resting in the outcome, even if in this lifetime we are not allowed to understand the reason behind the need for the sacrifice and the pain involved.

A heart sacrifice is not a formula that can be mastered. It is a decision that is intrinsically tied to the personal relationship between us and our God. It is born out of a trust that is developed in spending time communicating with an Abba Father who loves us more than we love our Isaac.

The high value of our Isaac is what makes the sacrifice so demanding, because we don't know ahead of time if we'll get our Isaac back. Something it took me a while to understand is that God has never forced me to make a heart sacrifice. He has never demanded my allegiance or made me "give up" an Isaac just to play with my emotions. He has always allowed the choice to be mine. And that is precisely why the decision is so difficult. He lets me decide if I will make laying my Isaac on the altar an act of worship, where I lift up my heart in total trust in Him and release my grip on the object of my sacrifice.

Some are thrust on you:
- terminal illness
- struggling with infertility
- death of a loved one
- loss of a job or a ministry position
- an accident that results in a major life-change
- a financial reversal
- a child who has turned his or her back on what you have taught him or her
- a desire to marry, with no life partner in sight
- an unwanted move to another home or to a different city

Some involve personal choices:
- letting go of personal expectations of myself or someone else
- giving up a cherished dream for a greater good
- recovering from an addiction
- relinquishing our control over a child who is becoming an adult
- giving up my 'right' to be in charge of my own life
- surrending my ideal life for the reality of what I actually have
- forgiving a person who betrayed my trust
- embracing God's love when He doesn't rescue my hurting child
- longing for a more ideal spouse, but staying in a difficult marriage
- believing that God's promises are true when I am in a personal hell"

A couple of these really made me stop typing - we all have Isaacs. Praise God that we have the opportunity to offer them as true "heart sacrifices" to Him - to the God of the Universe who loves us SO much more than we could ever love our "Isaacs."

I am challenged to change my thinking and especially my heart when I read through the list and chapter 2 of the book. If you read the book, I'd love to hear (read) your thoughts.

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