Psalm 105:1–11, 37–45 Genesis 22:1–19; Hebrews 11:1–3, 13–19
Post-traumatic stress is a real thing. There are many sources of trauma. We generally think of violence as the only source of trauma, but damaged relationships are equally the source of trauma for many individuals. Just like other forms of emotional scars, trauma may take years to heal if it ever does.
Some people have been miraculously cured of the various issues of trauma. They are not the norm. Many of those that still suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) don’t even recognize that they have it as they have not been taught how to perceive it.
Often, we don’t recognize potential PTSD in the scriptures. We often put it aside or dismiss any possibilities because “they were real ‘men’” then. Reminds me of the stories of the ’50s, and how great everything was with families and gatherings. The dark side of that being the mass amount of alcohol that was consumed not so obviously. One could easily conclude that the mass consumption of alcohol was a “tool” to numb the pain of World War II’s PTSD.
Imagine Isaac—the recipient of Abraham’s love and expectation —when his father ties him up and puts him on the woodpile intended for the sacrifice. The sole inheritor of Abraham and Sarah must have been shocked. He must have also felt betrayed. We can only imagine the effects that had on Isaac’s and Abraham’s relationship.
There may well have also been an impact on Isaac’s relationship with God. Many people feel betrayed by God because a loved one died, or because their life isn’t what they want or imagined. Being a literal sacrifice to God didn’t seem to affect Isaac’s faith in God overall, but it’s hard to see how that didn’t color Isaac’s view of God either.
Walking through life as “the almost sacrifice”. What a strange feeling, even at the end, that must have been.
As Christians, we continually observe the sacrifice that Jesus Christ was for us and for all of humanity (and Creation). If Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for us, we too are almost a sacrifice.
The Nation of Almost Sacrifices. What a fabulous ring it has to it! How could anyone not want to be part of that? Right? You just can’t wait to go there!
Except the author of Hebrews notes that plenty of people died before the fulfillment of the Messiah. Many of them waited for the Messiah. Many of them were waiting for the first Holy Nation of Israel. Others were waiting for the next Holy Nation of Israel. Some even today wait for the next Holy Nation of Israel.
Waiting for God’s timing is indeed often a sacrifice. Sometimes it can be our pride (of nation, gender, profession, race, wealth) that needs to be sacrificed. Other times it is our assumptions that need to be sacrificed.
The Christian Walk often seems to be one of constant almost sacrifice. However, the almost isn’t one of, “I almost did it.” It is one of, “I surrendered it, and God gave it back.” So, no, we are not to be a nation of almost sacrifices. We are to be a nation that has sacrificed and sacrifices continually. This not a sacrifice of misery, but a sacrifice of response to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who sacrificed for us.
- What does sacrifice mean to you?
- What does it mean to live as an almost sacrifice? What about an actual sacrifice? What about living a life of sacrifice?
Lord, we often don’t know what it means to live sacrificially or to live a life of sacrifice. Help us to know the cross that is ours to pick up. Amen.