The Ultimate Trust Fall

Have you ever participated in a “trust fall”? You know, the game or perhaps team building exercise where you and a partner work together. One person falls blindly backwards while their partner is waiting to catch them before they hit the ground. It conjures up a certain level of anxiety for me. I remember doing it in a large group in my Navy officer training days. We had to take turns and catch one another…sometimes you doubted if you could truly trust the other person when you fell. And sometimes you wondered if you’d be able to catch your partner (some of those guys were big!).
 
If you think about it, the exercise is a great parallel to the Christian walk. There are seemingly many times in following Christ that we must blindly fall into the plans He has without knowing how He will catch us. Often we don’t even know the full extent as to why He is asking us to trust Him. He simply places the burden upon our hearts and it’s up to us to be willing to fall.
 
I see lots of examples of “spiritual trust falls” in the Bible. Probably my most favorite is the account of God calling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It's the ultimate trust fall:
 
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
 
The story for many of us is almost too difficult to comprehend. God had spent many years telling Abraham to get ready; that he would become a father of a great nation. God called Abraham to leave the place where he was settled and go to an unknown land. He had a relationship that was very close with Abraham and even called him a friend (2 Chronicles 20:7). So it must have been unsettling for Abraham to realize that after the fulfillment of God’s promise, after trusting for years and years, God would take the one thing away He had promised to Abraham.
 
I think there is much we can glean from Genesis 22. Trust takes on a whole new meaning as we see it play out in this story.
 
1. God calls us to ever-deepening levels of trust
 
God knew Abraham had been faithful and had waited several years for Isaac to be born. He and Sarah were no spring chickens…Sarah was 90 years old and the thought of bearing a child was preposterous. Even still, God made good on His promise. It took trust for Abraham to believe God wasn’t just pulling his leg and it took trust to believe his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 26:4). So what is the bigger “trust fall”? Believing God would give you a son? Or trusting God when He asks you to sacrifice your son? Both are mountains in my opinion but I believe in Genesis 22 Abraham is called to lay down anything that hinders 100% confidence in the Lord’s character. It’s the same for us. We are told in the New Testament “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). I interpret that as a progression of faith. We don’t end up in the same place where we started. God is calling us to go beyond what level of faith we displayed yesterday, last week, last month, or last year.
 
2. God calls us to trust beyond what we can understand
 
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Genesis 22:7
 
Isaac realized something was off. He had probably accompanied his father on many sacrifices before and knew what had to happen: something had to be killed in order for it to be offered to God. Where was the sacrifice? Why were they there? God didn’t give any of those answers to Abraham and in his heart, as a father, he must have felt deeply conflicted. He knew God said go. He could not ignore God’s voice as he had heard it clearly many times before and had obeyed. This time would have to be no different; yet God was putting His finger upon something very near and dear to Abraham—his own son. God often calls us to do something without giving us the how or why. If you’re a planner or like all the details laid out beforehand, this is very hard for you. We also don’t like to think of God testing us, but that is exactly what it is: God tested Abraham and Abraham obeyed despite a lack of knowledge. No matter how long you have walked with God, do not expect to never be tested. And when you are, it will often be beyond your ability to comprehend. We are called to trust anyway.
 
3. God always provides when we trust
 
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. Genesis 22:10-14
 
Abraham was ready to do it. He had the knife out, sharpened and prepared for the sacrifice of his own son. A picture of full obedience. But at the very moment he was ready to strike, God stopped him and said not to lay a hand on Isaac. Whew. Can you imagine the relief and the tears of joy that must have followed? From there, God provides a ram for the sacrifice. He once again promises to bless Abraham and his descendants because Abraham obeyed Him (vs. 18). Through the whole process we see God looking for Abraham’s heart. Does Abraham trust God? Does he fear God? Yes and yes. And because God knows Abraham will not hold anything back, even his own son, God provides.
 
In what is a clear foreshadow to the New Testament, we see a story again of a Father offering up His own Son; only this time no other provision comes through. It’s Jesus that goes to the cross and makes a way for us. When we trust in our Savior, we too see that He provides for us just like He did for Abraham. He is a good Father and it’s His nature to take care of His children.

This year a big word for me is “relationship.” I’ve been convicted by the idea that my relationship with God is very one-sided and at times, surface deep. How well do I know Him? Certainly not like Abraham and certainly not with a trust that Abraham displayed. But I’m willing to go there, to take a trust fall and not settle for where I’ve been in the past. How about you? Can we walk this road together and encourage one another? I hope this year you take every trust fall God puts before you. It’s always worth it!

 
Be blessed today and as always, I love hearing from you: info@derekcharlesjohnson.com

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