Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine … Ephesians 3:20
“If being a Christian is boring, you’re doing it wrong.” My favorite t-shirt (Clean Apparel)
Wednesday didn’t seem like St. Patrick’s Day. For the second year in a row the big St. Patrick’s Day parade had been cancelled and there were scant decorations to be seen. Still, I dutifully donned my green top, with a shamrock pendant and earrings for emphasis. I grabbed a little booklet I had written years ago for a St. Patrick’s Day outreach and stuck it in my purse before going out the door. I prayed, asking God to send me someone to share the gospel with.
I was on my way to have Bible class with my granddaughters. Today we were continuing the story of God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This was the child of promise that Abraham and Sarah had waited decades for! Incredibly, Abraham was obedient and set out first thing next morning.
Leaving his servants at the bottom of the mountain, he said to them, “‘Stay here with the donkeys while I and the boy go over there. We will worship, and then we will come back to you.'” (Genesis 22:5) [Emphasis mine]
When Isaac asked the heartbreaking question, “‘Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'” Abraham replied that ‘”God Himself will provide the lamb.'” (Genesis 22:7,8)
The day before, my granddaughters and I had speculated as to why Abraham had said “… we will come back to you.” We tossed around a few ideas. Was Abraham lying about both of them coming back? Or did he not intend to sacrifice his beloved son? Or was something else going on? But then one of the girls suggested that Abraham might have been hoping God would resurrect Isaac afterwards…
Bingo! Today I planned to show them that this was the correct guess. (Hebrews 11:19)
But as you well might know, resurrection was unnecessary. As Abraham raised the knife to kill his son, an angel of the LORD called out to him to stop. – It had been a test. Moreover, as Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
What a great example of how God rewards faith! Abraham had such faith in God’s power – even power to raise the dead – that he was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience. But his willingness was enough, and God provided the sacrifice Himself (as Abraham had predicted) before Abraham had to carry out the command.
The lesson today was about God’s willingness and ability to give us even more than we ask for, when we have faith in Him enough to obey.
Little did I suspect I was about to give Charlotte a living example before Bible class even started.
Before Bible I took Charlotte to get her allergy shots, and on the way I planned to pick up something at the vet’s. But when we got off the highway, I realized we had overshot the vet’s office and were headed for the allergist.
“Oh well,” I said to Charlotte, “we’ll just get your shots first.” Since the office always closes an hour for lunch, I knew we would get there a little before it reopened. But the last time that had happened, we had ended up having a nice conversation with some others who had also arrived early…
Wait a minute…! I prayed, suspicious. Is this timing part of Your plan? Do I have a divine appointment?
When we got there, two women and a young man about 13 were waiting.
“Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” I greeted them, and I’m pretty sure under their masks they were smiling.
“So … who here knows the most about St. Patrick?” I asked with a smirk, taking on the teacher role.
“I know green, that’s about it.”
“Did you know St. Patrick wasn’t Irish?” I asked. There were some guesses as to what nationality he was, as the nurse opened the doors and we checked in. After we sat, I offered the most responsive woman the booklet with the quiz I had written.
“Check it out, if you want,” I said. “There are just four questions. How many of them can you get right?”
As she read aloud the multiple choice questions, the young man stood “socially distanced,” peering over her shoulder.
[The quiz was posted here last year: https://seekingdivineperspective.com/2020/03/17/who-knew/ ]
She got two questions right, and laughed at the ones she missed. She went on to read the final pages of the booklet – “If St. Patrick were here, he would tell you …” – and when she had finished, she looked up, delighted.
“YES! The gospel!” she exclaimed.
I told she was welcome to keep the quiz and share it with others, if she wanted to. I also told her about the outreach we were planning to do (one of these days!) at the parade, offering the quiz to any spectators who were interested, painlessly sharing the Good News, and giving people a real reason to celebrate.
Clearly a believer herself, she became very excited, and I asked if she would be interested in participating whenever the parade came back. She loved the idea! I gave her one of my cards with all my contact information, and she invited me to visit her church. She said they were “all about that kind of thing.” I got the idea she meant there were likely people at her church who would love to take part in the outreach, too.
“You know,” the woman said, “you could do this sort of thing with other holidays, too!”
I thought of the 15 years I directed a multimedia production on Halloween night, the subject of my next book …
“Don’t get me started,” I laughed.
Prayer: Lord, You only ask us to “trust and obey.” Thank You that when I merely asked for an opportunity to drop a seed, You sent me a new friend, sister, and fellow harvester. Thanks for the excitement of a brand new day, and the joyful anticipation of seeing what surprises You have for me today, in Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.