Sometimes balancing these two extremes between faith and fear causes us as Christians some apprehension as we walk the tightrope of life. However, if God requires you to fall off the wire, fall on the side of faith.
The world in which we dwell focuses on the negative. Weather forecasters speak of a 30 per cent chance of rain. Why not a 70 per cent chance of sunshine? Movies and television delight in exposing the dirty, disgusting underbelly of society. Why not use media to paint a hopeful picture of how the world could be?
If we are not careful we could easily get the impression that adolescence is a disease with headaches and heartaches, pressure and pain as its only symptoms. Not so! Adjustments and struggles may be present, but not to the exclusion of tremendous growth and remarkable achievements. These can be some of the most exciting years of one's spiritual pilgrimage.
Developing the habit of deferring gratification is no simple task, especially since we all seem to be multi-taskers these days. We live with the short term in mind.
Abraham loved his son, but he also knew his God. His life was built on the positive side of faith. Knowing deep in his soul that God is a God who provides, Abraham crested that rugged mountain with confidence.
Letting go is always difficult. And the closer we are to the thing (or person) being released, the more difficult it is to let go. We must hold everything loosely. Some of the most poignant examples of letting go come in the context of parent-child relationships. Upon receiving God’s command to offer his son as a sacrifice, Abraham let Isaac go and obeyed without resistance, illustrating his allegiance to God above all.
The longer Abraham lived, the more he learned to take God literally, trust Him thoroughly, and obey Him eagerly. As the aging Patriarch approached the twilight of his life, he turned his attention to finding a lifelong companion for his son, Isaac.
Playing favourites is nothing new. In fact, the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau describes a family torn apart by favouritism. Parents and teachers today can learn from this family story—favouritism causes division that continues for generations.
As Abraham neared the sunset of his life, he clearly didn’t waste his retirement years sitting around feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he lived his last years to their fullest. From his example, we can learn a lot about ending well and finishing strong.
Though a twin, he was quite the opposite of his younger brother and ultimately became the heartache of the family. Ripped off by his brother and rejected by his family, he couldn’t win, no matter how hard he tried. As we shall soon discover, the Bible pulls no punches. And you may find several places in this story where you can identify with Esau, “the son who couldn’t win.”