A couple of weekends ago I sat in the back of an auditorium full of women to listen to Angie Smith share what the Lord had given her for us. If you know anything about Angie you know that several years ago she lost her fourth daughter, Audrey, to a condition so very similar to the one that claimed both Evie’s and Charlie’s life. Going into the weekend I was really looking forward to hearing what she had to say, especially knowing she would be speaking from a place of having lost a baby. And I was earnestly asking and seeking the Lord to show me the places in my heart that were still in pain, that still needed healing.
Angie spoke from a passage in Genesis 22, the one that tells the story of God instructing Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. As the two walk to the top of the mountain where the sacrifice is to take place, Isaac inquires of his father, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
And Abraham, knowing full well that the next moments would be so incredibly, unspeakably painful tells his son, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”
Abraham prepared the altar and arranged the wood. He laid his precious son overtop of the pile of tinder and, hand trembling and eyes filling with tears (how could he not!), Abraham raises the knife over Isaac’s chest to kill him, his only son, the promised one.
But before the knife even touches Isaac a voice instructs from heaven, “Abraham! Don’t lay a hand on the boy …”
And after the Angel commends Abraham for his faith, his eyes are opened to see a ram caught in the thicket by his horns and this is the ram that was offered in Isaac’s stead.
Angie pointed out that initially Abraham told Isaac that God would provide the lamb for Himself. What actually happened was that He provided a ram.
The Lamb of God was promised and provided for us. But sometimes we want His provision to look a lot more like a ram.
Sometimes we are looking at a thicket for a ram instead of at the cross for a Lamb.
I sucked my breath in sharp as those words rang in my ears.
Sometimes we are looking at a thicket for ram instead of at the cross for a Lamb.
In my own life, the ram was healing for my babies. I wanted so badly for our story to end in the miraculous addition of all the parts they were missing and their development to be super-charged and doctors to marvel over these amazing little blessings that we had been told wouldn’t survive. That’s what I would have wanted. But instead of providing that ram, as God did for Abraham, He believed it was sufficient for my story to be redeemed by the Lamb.
In the end, when I climbed the proverbial mountain so the Lord could test my faith, He asked me to carry out the whole thing, the entire act of sacrifice. I looked all around and begged for a ram to sacrifice instead but He didn’t give me that particular provision. Instead He accepted my humble, painful, albeit reluctant sacrifice of living life minus two. He didn’t provide a ram. But what He had already done was provide the Lamb.
Evie and Charlie are not with me, that much is very true. But they are somewhere better. They are in a place of perfection that was only made possible by the blood of the Lamb, God’s precious and only Son.
Angie had exhorted us to pray this prayer: Lord, show me what circumstances I have closed my eyes to your provision and open my eyes to see.
Praise God He opened my eyes once again to this heart-healing truth. God didn’t provide a miracle for my babies and that grieves my heart. But how can I hold that against Him when what He did provide was eternal life for them and for me and paradise forever because of the sacrifice of His Son?
These words are so beautiful to me. I needed them so very much. God’s provision in my losses didn’t look like a miracle. Instead it looked like a temporary separation and then a forever together.
God didn’t provide a ram. He provided for us a Lamb.