As we keep moving closer and closer to Easter weekend, I have been going back to a talk that Angie Smith gave at the If Gathering back in 2016 and I thought I’d give a recap of it today since it has been on my heart.
At the very beginning of scripture in the garden of Eden, we see two questions asked. The first one is by Satan and it is ‘Are you sure that God has your best in mind?’ and the second is by God and it is ‘where are you?’. Now, when God asked Adam and Eve where they were, it is important to realize that God had not lost them, he was asking them, what is the posture of your heart for me? God already knew where their hearts were, but by asking them Adam and Eve had to reevaluate their own hearts and find where they are. Several chapters later and hundreds of years after the garden of Eden, we find Abraham. He is now an old man and God had promised him a son that He would build a nation out of that would bless the whole world. In his old age God did grant Abraham that son, Isaac, but sometime later God tested Abraham which brings us to our first point: don’t let anyone ever tell you that God will not test you, He will never tempt you, but that is different than testing. The truth is, if we get honest God often gives us more than we can handle, and honestly, this whole life is more than we can handle, but that is why we have Him because He can handle it all. God called Abraham to take his son, his only son that he loved, up onto the mountain and to sacrifice him. On the way up the mountain as Isaac carried the wood and Abraham the fire, Isaac looked over and asked Abraham, “My father, we have the wood and fire, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham replied to Isaac, “God himself will provide the lamb.” We all know how the story goes at this point: right before Abraham sacrifices Isaac, God stops him and tells him that because he did not withhold anything from God, not even his only son, He knew he loved him more than anything. At this point God opens Abraham’s eyes and Abraham looks up to see a ram caught in the thicket and sacrifices the ram in Isaac’s place and walks down the mountain with his son. It is a story with a happy ending, of course Abraham can say that God is good when he walked down the mountain with his son, but what about when you walk down the mountain without your loved one as was the case with Angie Smith and me with my grandpa? It was during one such time in her life that Angie felt God leading her to go back and read this story again and again because He had something there for her. After reading it several times she realized something that changed her life and in a ripple effect has changed mine over the past several years, especially this one as I watched my Papa battle cancer and lose the battle. Go back and look at the beginning, as they were walking up the mountain, God promised to provide a lamb, He never said anything about a lamb. The promise was THE Lamb. Two thousand years later on this same mountain range, Jesus Christ was crucified on our behalf, HE was the promised lamb. When you think about who Christ is to you when you are being tested, have you spent more time with your eyes locked on the thicket or on the cross? We have no guarantees about the ram, but we have EVERY guarantee about The Lamb. He will not fail us, and these things that feel scary, we have to live it out and place our trust in Him, the Lamb of God. So as you face the two questions that have been asked since the beginning of time and continue to be asked over and over again, when you hear the enemy whisper, “are you sure?”, here’s your answer: “I’m not sure about the ram, but I am certain of the lamb.” And when you hear God asking, “where are you?” your answer is simple, “Right here Lord, ready and willing. You send me where you want me to go, and in your power and your strength I will do that.”
You guys, as I walk through life and all the scary hard trials that come with it, facing it with the realization that while I do not have the promise of the ram, but have EVERY promise of the lamb, I know I can walk through it because I won’t be alone, He will be there. Whatever you are facing in life, no matter how hard or scary, know that you are not alone, you have been promised the Lamb and He will not leave or forsake you, He has promised you this. If you’re needing encouragement right now (and honestly even if you don’t need it right now, because at some point you will need it), go watch the full talk that Angie Smith gave here. It is under seventeen minutes and SO worth every minute. As I said at the beginning, I have gone back to this so many times over the last several years and it has carried me through this past year.
I love all of you and am praying over each and every one of you this Easter season.