Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blessing or Curse?

Yesterday I talked about stress and worry. It's a topic worth talking about more (and you'll notice there's a theme to this week).

Stop and think about what stresses you out. The little things and big things. What are you stressed out about right now? What were you stressed out about a week ago? (admit it, you were stressed out about something a week ago I'm sure)

Of all the things we stress about, either major or minor, we stress because we can't control it. We don't know the outcomes. At its root, we simply do not trust God.

But what do we stress most about? Our family, our jobs, our car breaking down, our bank account, our leaky roof... What do all of these things have in common? They are blessings! Think about it. The things that stress you out the most are blessings from God. You don't deserve them, you aren't owed them, but God has given you a family, a roof over your head, a job (or even at times, no job at all), money in the bank account (even if just pennies until the next check). And yet we want to control what God gives. We want to know how things turn out when only God knows.

This week's Blog Carnival topic is Sacrifice. It may be cliche to reference Abraham and Isaac when talking about sacrifice. I'm sure you've heard a dozen of sermons asking, "what's your Isaac?" But it's worth looking at again.

Going back a bit, Abraham and Sarah were stressed about not having children. Then God came along and made Abraham a promise. The promise wasn't fulfilled right away, so they stressed some more and made a bad decision along the way to allow Abraham to lay with Hagar in order for her to have his child since Sarah was barren. But God eventually came through and Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

Then we get to Genesis 22, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham doesn't protest, he doesn't even say a word. He just goes. When Isaac asks where the sacrifice will come from, Abraham simply replied, "the Lord will provide." (v 8) Still no stress, but simple trust in God's promise.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice a blessing because he believed in God's promise. He didn't know how God was going to work it out, but he knew God would. So he had no stress, no worry.

Of all the blessings that stress you out, what are you willing to sacrifice believing in God's promise? No, God probably hasn't personally spoken to you to promise anything. But there is this, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Another cliche, but consider what that "good" is that God promises. Verse 29 continues, "...to be conformed to the likeness of his Son..." That is the good we are promised.

Are we being conformed to the image of Jesus when we stress out? Not likely. But we are when we are willing to give some things up, even if they are blessings, because we believe God's promises.

What are you willing to give up?

This post is one of many on the topic of sacrifice. Be sure to visit Peter Pollock's blog to see other posts to be inspired, encouraged, and challenged as others share their thoughts, feelings, and convictions.


katdish said...

I'm finding that anything and everything I desire more than God will always be at arm's length to me but I can never posses it. Every single day I have to start over, remembering that He is all I need.

Anonymous said...

Great point, Frank. Abraham is amazing in his trust. The promise is bigger than the one portion we can see right now. Thanks for the reminder.

Glynn said...

You and I think a lot alike. Great post, Fatha Frank.

A Joyful Noise said...

I enjoyed your Post. Amazing wasn't it that Isaac willing allowed his father to place him on that alter. Not a word of back talk, no whining or pleading. May we be as willing to present ourselves a living sacrifice with a similar attitude.

Anonymous said...

i hear that blessings don't always look like blessings...

Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke said...

"Are we being conformed to the image of Jesus when we stress out? Not likely." Very well said. I think we either can worry or pray&leave the worries to God. Great post! Blessings!