Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” – Genesis 22:1-2 (NIV)
I know the very notion of sacrificing children is unconscionable for many. And I am aware of how certain interpretations of the above text have endangered the lives of children.
But I also know that the love we have for our children is precisely what motivates us to give them up in sacrifice.
I remember taking my only begotten daughter to her first day at kindergarten. Though her mom and I kept telling her that she would make new friends and learn to like it, it didn’t diminish the separation anxiety we all felt those first few days when we had to leave her in the care of strangers. But because we loved our daughter, it was a sacrifice we were willing to make.
When she was about ten years old, my daughter came home one afternoon looking sullen and upset. Upon questioning her mood, I learned she’d been quarreling with some other children in the neighborhood over some game they’d been playing outside. Resisting the urge to run interference for her, I urged her to go back outside and seek a compromise with her friends. I wanted to protect her, but I knew I had to sacrifice her to her own peer interaction for her own development.
And just recently I made the sacrifice of surrendering my daughter to the care of her betrothed at their wedding. I’d never really imagined how giving my daughter away in loving trust to another would be such a moving expression of my enduring love for her.
Lord, because I trust your love, I lay my child upon your altar. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Decatur, Georgia.