It felt so good to swim. My hips and pelvis did not ache. I felt weightless and jointless, floating cool and light. I stared at the sky and told the Lord, "I need You. I need You to touch me, my heart, my mind. I need something from You. I don't know what it is, but I need it. I have to hear something. I have to...." Tears rolled from my face and into the water around my cheeks, and I thought of all my tears joining the drops of water in that pool. How many years' worth of tears is that? How many have I cried this season? How many more will I cry? Where do they come from? How many can I make?
You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle...Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8
The sky was so beautiful. I stared at it, trying to figure out where He is. Where is heaven? Where is Ben? Is it up there or down here or over there...?
He didn't say anything. But the cry felt good and I went home to change for Salem.
I will write later about the incredible (but too brief!) conversation I had with my friend Casey when I got to Salem. It was about the kingdom of God and it distracted me so much that I haven't thought about much else since, but what I want to post right now is from my devotional this morning. Because God heard my prayer as I cried yesterday and began to speak to me....
July 16 (Streams in the Desert, Vol 1)
Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son...I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven;...because thou has obeyed my voice (Gen. 22: 16-18)
And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God's voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God's call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy's life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.
That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy. And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ. For we can never know the fullness of the sacrifice. The earthly founder of the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his only son, just as the heavenly Founder of that family did. We cannot be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of membership upon any other basis. C. G. Trumbull
We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes He takes in fire; and that the only way to the resurrection life and the ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the grave.
Think not, O soul of man, that Abraham's was a unique and solitary experience. It is simply a specimen and pattern of God's dealings with all souls who are prepared to obey Him at whatever cost. After thou hast patiently endured, thou shalt receive the promise. The moment of supreme sacrifice shall be the moment of supreme and rapturous blessing. God's river, which is full of water, shall burst its banks, and pour upon thee a tide of wealth and grace. There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him. F.B. Meyer
There is so much here. When the writer says that "Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God's call," I know that what happened with us isn't the same. He didn't ask us and we didn't say yes, in any way. Where I see my obedience is in God's grace-- that now, in these after days, weeks, months, years, I would say "yes" to Him. Yes, I will not hate You for this. That not only would I not hate You for this, but that one day I would love You for it.
Yes, I will give him to You in my heart.