Sunday, November 20, 2005

Offerings

“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” -- Job 1:5


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We had wanted a child for so long. We ached to have a baby, one that would be ours to love, one that we could raise. I wanted to share my love of learning with a child. A child is a legacy. I wanted to leave a bit of me in this world by teaching another human being the things I felt were important.

I kept going to the story of Abraham in the Bible. I saw how desperately he wanted a child. I kept praying that I would have a child to raise.

“Heavenly Father, if You would bless me with a child I will care for him and raise him to bless Your name. If You would give me a child I would teach him about You and he would carry Your love, Your word through his life. If You would do for me what You did for Abraham, I will do the same as he did. I will give that child to You. I will dedicate my son to You and I will follow Your will in all that I do with him. Please give me a child, and I promise I will give him back to You. --Amen.”

And it happened. We got that child. We named him after me: Willy. He was born on my wife’s birthday, August 30th. Oh, it is hard to express the joy of that day. We had yearned for that child throughout the twelve years we had been a couple and he had arrived!

I kept my promise. I remembered how the LORD asked Abraham to give his son to Him and Abraham complied. I thought about this new life in my care and I took such joy in thinking how I would teach Willy about the Word, about Jesus, about eternal life. I thought about Abraham, how he followed the LORD’s will and gave his son to Him. I would be obedient, do the same.

In November, we had a feast in our home. We invited friends, we cooked a huge meal. We set tables end to end in our living room and filled the chairs with friends. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and dedication.

I shared our journey, our desire, and God’s faithful answering of prayer. I kept my promise. Before those witnesses I told my LORD I was giving this child to Him. I said that no matter what the LORD wanted my child to do, I would uphold His will. I gave my child, I gave my hopes, and dreams, and promises, to my creator.

Four weeks later I was standing at the end of my drive, watching for the ambulance to come, hoping they would be able to make that child breathe again.

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I didn’t understand.

As I sit here, tapping at this keyboard, something in my heart twists over slowly, a bruise rolls up into view. I think, “Oh dear LORD. I love You, but couldn’t there have been another way?”

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The LORD asked Abraham to give up the thing that most filled his heart. And he did it. But the LORD never actually took Isaac from Abraham. The offering was enough. But the LORD did take Willy. That morning Willy cried himself to sleep; and when his crying stopped, so did he.


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But I am not the only one who has given up a child. Even He provided a very difficult offering once.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -- John 3:16

Though my heart aches when I think about that day, December 15, 1992, I know my Lord understands. That means a lot to me.


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So, here I am, thirteen years later, and though there is still a bruise where I was hurt, I am a little better able to understand.

Now I have two other children. Two children who need me and I find myself doing things that I didn’t know were part of the job description. (I should have though, it is clearly in the manual.) I am to pray over my children, just a Job did. And I am to place their needs first, before my own.

It is my job to intercede for my children, especially while they are within my home. I am to pray for them, pray with them, and pray blessings into them.

I felt awkward doing this at first.

My father is a tough guy, a sort of swaggering John Wayne sort of guy who doesn’t read books. He prefers to do tough things such as crush buildings with heavy equipment and cuss a lot.

It wasn’t so bad teaching my kids how to pray to God, but to put anointing oil on a finger and place my hand on their heads, well it seemed foppish, melodramatic. Not the sort of thing real men do.

But the look on their faces when I do it! A smile spreads across their faces and it seems something is flowing through me, they are receiving something through that prayer, that touch. I heard Jeremiah tell his psychologist that when I do that he feels all the bad things being pushed out of him.

And this goes for how I care for my spouse:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” --Ephesians 5:25-28

I am to strengthen my wife's faith through sharing prayers and scripture. I have started anointing my wife each night as well. Each member of my family has a vial of anointing oil on their headboard, the scent chosen to reflect who they are.

Again, it seems strange.

I was required to take courses outside of my major while in college. One such class was “Women in Culture.” A very strange experience. There were only four men in it on the first day, and by the end of that week I was the only one left. But I hung in there; I’m not a quitter. But golly, they hated men! Men were seen as the source of all that was wrong in the world (and they did have some persuasive arguments).

The militant lesbianism was uncomfortable, but I hung in there. I finished that class with an "A" and a deep respect for women and their struggles.

I think that experience made me feel awkward in taking a leadership role in my home, that I was being sexist, misogynistic. It somehow felt that in claiming the position of head of household I was saying that my wife is not as valued as I, not an equal.

But she is. And in praying a blessing for her I am not making her beneath me, or subservient. I am lifting her up to my LORD and asking Him to bless her. I am asking that she be given the resources to do all the difficult tasks that are placed on her.

And it isn’t as if I am elevated in any way. I am not the master of this home. My LORD is. I am a steward. I’m simply a manager of this franchise.

So I offer it all to Him. I know that can be dangerous. I remember offering Him something big once before. I didn’t like what He chose to do with Willy. But I am His servant.

I had an odd task to do this past weekend, and as uncomfortable as that was, it was the right thing to do. I first thought it was something that the elders of my church should do, or people in the congregation who seemed better versed in such things. But I was wrong. It was my job.

There were difficult moments, and I suspect more are coming. But I can tell you that in being obedient I feel lifted up. I feel a sense of joy and relief and... well, gratitude.

In that ultimate sacrifice of God's, in giving up His son, we can see the perspective of the sacrifice itself. A difficult task for God incarnate.

“And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” --Luke 22:40-42

Sometimes we are asked to do things we don’t like. Abraham did not eagerly lead his son up that mountain in Moriah. But he was obedient. And it pleased the LORD.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” --Psalm 19:14

That is what I want. I am the LORD’s (curious) servant.




19 comments:

tim said...

you story continues to unravel as well as those of your family members. i see you walking in obedience, stepping into the rays of light that are breaking through the darkeness. you looked lighter this morning. the creases that have marked your face for the past few weeks were missing. i saw some twinkle in your eyes. i'm walking lighter now as well. love you

wilsonian said...

And who annoints your head?

BHGA said...

I shared with you over the weekend a few of my previous experiences...and ones that continue into today. I feel as though the Lord brought us together in spirit; you have used the same scripture as I in my post this morning. May you have a peaceful, spirit filled week....

Donna

Vicki said...

Well, I've cried through this post, and can barely type....bless you. The Lord's hand is definitely on your life.....thank you for sharing this post with us.

Pia said...

that was so touching. i felt your pain. i didn't understand a lot of things God is allowing to happen in my life but i've also learned to accept things as they are and hoped that things would be better soon. God has a plan for all of us and we have to remember that His thoughts is not our thoughts. from the two lost that i had, i'm a lot better now.

keeping you in my prayers...

Paula said...

Wow. Very moving post. May God continue to heal, lead, and guide you. May your family be strengthened in His love. May the blessings you speak into their lives multiply and bear much fruit to the glory of God. May the suffering you've experienced be touched by the healing hand of the Father and be used to offer healing to others.

Pirate said...

Brother in Christ, not all fables are 100% fact. Jesus talked in riddle to make the brain work for those who were listening. I in no way am in his league but spin the yarn in some of the same ways. Willie is 99.9% fact and the rest is to make one think. Peace.

Kc said...

CS I have no words only a great desire for His blessings on you and your family.

So I Go said...

first, thanks for stopping by my blog..

and second, i've just finished reading through a bunch of your posts and i'm just about speechless. (in a good way)

wow. what an inspiration you are, and what a gift you have as a writer.

i'll be back. often.

Hikingalong said...

I've just read the update after you claimed your home for Christ. I am so thankful. I have been praying for you and for your family. God is so good! Keep your armor handy, although you've gone through the worst of it, I'm sure there will be more testing of your faith. You've reached a crossroads in your life. Perhaps you should change your name from Curious Servant to Faithful Servant as you follow after your Savior. God bless you my brother in Christ. I will continue to lift you before the throne of grace.

David said...

I am so sorry you experience the loss of your child. But I am so glad to see what you are doing with your life and for your family. May God reach down and touch you in a special way.

Lucy Stern said...

Know one will really know why your little Willie had to go home early to his Heavenly Father.

Glad you were able to get both boys and they feel safe in you home. Hope things go well. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Lillee said...

Did you hear Dr. Dobson's Focus on The Family show today? It was about a man who had lost a child and how his wife and he used the experience to witness to other people who had lost children. He called it his "SCAR", because when the death occured, it left a huge gaping hole in his life, but God covered the wound with his love and it became a scar they could show to the world. Very sad but, when I read your post and you called the same thing a Bruise, I was left speechless.
Your testimony is awesome. Keep sharing it.

UARIDI said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are very brave. May God hold you very close to His heart and continue His healing work on you and your family.

Enjoy your week - Jesus came that we have life in abundance - live life to the full!!!!

David said...

Wishing you a Happy and blessed Thanksgiving. You certainly have blessed me these few months that I have been reading your posts.

Neal W. said...

I'm love to hear Job taught by people who KNOW. Thanks for your perspective.

Lorna said...

Erin - I think you are my twin sister in Christ :)

my thought too was exactly that. Who anoints your head CS?

you see the oil of healing will pour into your life too - allow your family to wash your feet, anoint you with the oil that is perfumed according to your need -

it is your duty privilege and joy to be the head of your household - but it can be shared and the joy is even more complete

be blessed this thanksgiving. thank you for all your encouragement

Lorna

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