If you have insomnia, you might as well do something productive other than just lay there, agitated to no end by spousal snoring or the bothersome sound of the pool pump which suddenly sounds frighteningly expensive.
And, if you have a gift, USE it.
That's what He just told me, anyhow.
So I traipsed my sleep-deprived self into the living room to lay it all bare once again.
My soul, that is.
I had an interesting day today.
I spent the better part of it in primitive mother mode.
Protecting and defending the rights and needs of one of my young pirates. It doesn't require a differential equation, or even fifth grade math to deduce as to which pirate this most likely was...
The bigger story is Abraham.
I write in concentric circles most of the time.
But then again, it's in the wee hours of the morning and I'm really tired but my racing mind and my aching, broken, sick body will not allow me respite.
Back to my primitive mothering moment and my "aha!' Abraham moment....
For the past five months, I have really gotten INTO The Bible.
Not just flipping from here to there.
Not looking up "Suffering" or "Grieving" or "Weakness" in an online Concordance, and then jumping off the proverbial (!) diving board into wherever the passage takes me.
I've been PLUNGING into the Bible.
It all started with James.
The Book of James, not my friend James. Although the Book of James certainly has become near and dear to my heart after I plundered through it.
Our new church called the journey through James: "Faith on Fire". Boy, they weren't kidding! As we trekked through James, my family's faith caught fire as if from the burning bush. Whoa. It was a crazy, crazy time, those six - eight weeks were. We got closer to each other, we got nearer to God, we gained ground in our lives, we lost people FROM our lives.... Yeah. Crazy stuff. Ultimately all good, and as always, all God.
After James, I started to dive deeper.
Our church embarked on the 31 week series entitled "The Story". It's a book, which encapsulates about 40% of the Bible and tells "the story" of God's word in a novel-like, historical fashion.
MY kind of book.
I love me some reality based fiction, or historical thrillers.
Well heckfire, "The Story" has it all.
I heard the first sermon, bought the book and went home and read the first chapter.
That was the sound of the pounding in my head.
I didn't like the book.
I mean....I didn't particularly care for the way in which the book was framing the Bible.
I got lost.
In Week One.
The part of the Bible I've always struggled with....The Old Testament.
But don't a whole bunch of us sometimes struggle with parts of the Word? Not just figuratively by literally?
Heckfire, I struggle every single minute of every single day. From the moment my feet hit the floor (and a whole bunch of days I don't even make it out of bed) I have already screwed up, someway, somehow. Admittedly and ashamedly. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, but....didn't.
That's what I do.
It's called...wait for it....
S I N
All day long, all the time.
But I digress.
Back to "The Story".
I trudged through the first two chapters, aka "weeks" in the study.
I casually mentioned to Two Swords, "I don't like the way they have written this.....it's just as hard for me to wrap my head around as the 'regular' Bible is.....I had high hopes that this would help me with studying the Bible more."
And then a funny thing happened on the way to the movies.....
We saw a trailer for "The Bible", a miniseries about, well, THE BIBLE!, produced by the husband and wife team of Mark Burnett (of Survivor fame) and Roma Downey (of awesome angelic Irish actress fame).
Me and Two Swords set our mental clocks and the DVR, just in case we forgot.
We didn't forget.
God wouldn't let us!
Last Sunday, we watched the first two hour segment of "The Bible" on the History Channel. And those two hours got me almost caught up in "The Story".
But a funny thing happened on the way to the story.....
Again, admittedly, and ashamedly, I'm not an Abraham addict. Or scholar. I never really 'got' him.
But WHOA, a funny thing happened on the way to the sacrifice.
Firstly, I was pretty riveted to the screen as the 'story' unfolded. Being the non-scholar of Bible lore that I am, I was enjoying the show as I was learning the parts of the Bible which were previously 'hard' for me for one reason or another.
Abraham took his son Isaac for a walk. Or so thought Isaac.
I knew this story. I've known this story for a very long time.
And I have NEVER LIKED THIS STORY! AT ALL!
In fact, during commercials before the airing, I mentioned to my husband, "I'm gonna have a real hard time with the sacrificing of Isaac scene, I'll tell you that right now."
To wit my husband replied, "But you KNOW how it ends!"
"Yeah", I replied. "But I still don't like it."
"Weirdo" he correctly deduced as he shook his head from side to side.
Back to Abraham....
So, God instructs Abraham to trust Him. And Abraham is severely tested by God. God tells Abraham to bind up Isaac, and to sacrifice the life of his SON (!) to prove to God that Abraham truly trusts and loves God.
I did NOT want to watch this!
But I did.
But a funny thing happened....
For the first time in the gazillion times I've visited this particularly unsettling story, I had one of my 'epiphanies'.
You see, I'm a doubter by nature, a psychologist by degree, a Christian by life, a mother by design.
I've always doubted that a loving God WOULD ask a parent, a father, a mother....to kill their only child to please God.
And the psychology student in me recalls psychos in real life, like Andrea Yates, who claimed that God told her to drown her five children in the bathtub, one by one, even chasing some of the older ones through the house until the deed was finally done.
The Christian in me says, "Well, maybe God WAS speaking to Andrea Yates, just like He spoke to Abraham, and maybe only God will know if Andrea Yates is mentally ill or if she was being tested as well."
But then the mother in me had the final say.
Not, no way that God had a chat with Andrea Yates beforehand.
There is NO WAY that I, yours truly, could ever, WOULD ever, purposely bring harm and certain death to my child.
I COULD NOT DO IT.
How does that translate to my opinion of Abraham?
He's a better man than I'll ever be.
I finally got it.
I finally understood Abraham.
I finally understood that while I KNOW God, and I HEAR God, and I SEE the works of God, and I DO what God wants me to do 99% of the time that I'm able to discern that it really is HIM who speaks to me from within.......
I finally understood that there is no way I would follow an instruction from God to kill my own child to prove my loyalty and love and trust.
I can say, beyond a reasonable doubt....no, I can say with the greatest degree of absolute certainty.....I would NEVER hurt my own child, even if God presented Himself in such a way that I knew with the greatest degree of certainty that He was in fact, God, and not a bunch of jumbled voices in the crazy train that is my head sometimes.
I GET you now!
I UNDERSTAND, in a way that I did not before, in a way that perhaps I was incapable of grasping at a different time in my life....
That even though I can't FATHOM killing my own flesh and blood to please God, I can barely, just barely, begin to understand the personal hell that Abraham endured while wrestling with his decision, while preparing his precious son for slaughter, all the while, believing, hoping, praying....that God would make it all better.
And indeed, God did.
Isaac lived. And so did Abraham. And God's people were blessed for ages upon ages because of Abraham's testament of faith.
Faith on FIRE.
I trust God.
I know God.
I love God.
But not like Abraham did.
Admittedly and ashamedly, I love my children more than I love my God.
I just said that OUT LOUD, and typed it for ALL THE WORLD to see.
My deepest, darkest, desolate secret.
God walks with me.
God talks with me.
But not like He did with Abraham.
He's talking to me THROUGH Abraham.
A dude in the Bible who I never really fully grasped before this week.
A greater, better, braver dude of God than I could ever aspire to be.
A funny thing happened on the way to the New Testatment....
I'm learning a whole bunch more about God.
And even more powerful than that...
I'm learning how much I'm lacking in the "Trusting God" department.
Just when I thought my Faith was on FIRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEE!
Blessedly, for me, there's more.