Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thankful for community...

Robbie, Jensen and I made it to LA. We are enjoying our time together. Robbie has all his stuff in his room at Biola University and begins his job as RA (resident assistant) tomorrow at noon. They have two weeks of training before the rest of the students begin to arrive. I made some new friends tonight and connected with some old friends as well. (Sorry not old, "seasoned"). That was good for me - good to talk to one about future ministry and one about current ministry. To hear how God is moving in their lives and how they see the God's kingdom growing deeper.

Debbie and I have not talked live but from the text messages I understand that he has had a pretty stable day. They sat Jacob up for a while on the side of the bed and he opened his eyes. I also got a text that Jacob put up a good fight during bandage changes. Decent day all in all. Debbie was also able to go to the burn victims support group tonight. Amazingly supportive and encouraging community we have.

Okay bottom line. I miss Jacob. I miss being there with Debbie. It is hard to be so far away. Yet also so very thankful - for cell phones to stay connected with, for Jim and Sue who have been so amazingly consistent in their love and are always watching over us. Thankful for family support. Thankful for the growing community of support all over the world: Norway, Australia, Germany etc. Thankful that Jacob is doing well and that God is continuing to poor out himself into our lives. He is not done. We are not done. His kingdom grows deeper.

On the way down in the car, I was thinking about Abraham taking Isaac, his son up to be sacrificed. How excruciating it would be to take your son up knowing that God was asking for his life to be given. What depth of pain Abraham must have been going through - the agony, the anger, the fear. But I was not thinking about Abraham.

What was going through Isaac's mind on the way up wondering what they were going to sacrifice when they had no animal. Wondering what God would provide. What did Abraham tell Isaac? How did he answer the questions? How did Isaac react when his daddy placed him, raised the knife? But I was not thinking about Isaac.

Abraham, Sarah and Isaac were not alone on their trip. They traveled with an entourage. Servants, extended family, etc. What were they doing when Abraham ascended the mountain? What was Sarah doing? Did they know? Surely they at least knew that they were going, that no lamb was taken, that God was going to provide for the sacrifice. I wonder. Did Abraham ask them to pray? Did he set up a blog to keep them posted about their journey? Okay that was too far, but still what was going on in the community?

I know that I would struggle to willingly sacrifice my son. I am no Abraham and I struggle to even compare this to that. Abraham was willing to obey God to the point sacrificing that which was most treasured to him. But he did not do this without really understanding the heart of God. The writer of Hebrews 11:17-19 states: "by faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death."

Understanding the heart of God allows us to see beyond the confusion, pain, fear and to act in faith because we trust the one who holds our heart. Abraham was willing to look beyond the fear and trust that God would move and act in ways far beyond his understanding and our community grows deeper and closer to God. As we are transformed in faith we transform our community and it grows beyond where we are and what we are doing.

Though I hate all that is happening to Jake. I do trust the heart of God who has a hold of my heart. And I am thankful for God working in this community of support and faith.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)


Bob Duffy said...

Just as with Abraham, we have seen your steadfast faith as you go through this trial. You may not feel like Abraham at times, but God has already been shown in how consistently you've been lifting up Christ. We continue to pray for all of you.
-the Duffys

JM Fields said...

This song always gives me a glimpse of what Abraham must have been going through on that mountain.
Holy is the Lord by Andrew Peterson.

Wake up little Isaac
And rub your tired eyes
Go and kiss your mama
We’ll be gone a little while
Come and walk beside me
Come and hold your papa’s hand
I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb

I waited on the Lord
And in a waking dream He came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
“Here I am”, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I’ll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way

I'm praying.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Tom,

I call you dearest because you and your family are dear in my heart, though you do not know me.

When I think of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice, I think of it as an analogy of putting our faith in "the big picture", however one choses to describe it.

What I mean is, that sometimes the most trying of circumstances lead us down a path of growth and opportunity that we would not experience otherwise. It is difficult, and seems almost like a betrayal, to think in such a way when a loved one is suffering. "How could what my dear son is going through possibly lead to anything I care to experience or know?" It is a difficult concept to even bring up, so we rely upon these ages-old, wise stories to bring us back to these essential truths.

Your posts and insights are a gift to us all. We never know when we each will face events which challenge our hearts, minds, love and souls. You have given me tools, dear Kirkendall family. I pray for you all, love you all, and am grateful to you all.