As I ponder writing this story of sacrifice, my rudiment understanding and lack of hearty implementation seems under developed and puny at best; especially positioned side by side to scripture references pertaining to offering something precious and exceedingly weighty. My story though a juxtaposition still remains relevant to me as I flesh out a greater comprehension of how to flex my atrophied sacrificial muscles.
One is told a precursor to exercise is stretching to warm up before your workout. Consider this story my warm up exercise to greater opportunities to trust God and let go.
It all began with a Parade … Tis true somehow on my way to the outlet mall to get a short sleeved shirt for the unexpected warm weather at our annual Bible study beach retreat, my friend and I landed smack dab in the middle of the Lincoln City Homecoming parade. Somewhere between the fire truck and bus of waving High Schoolers we were ever so kindly ushered into the festivities with an open space to pull out into. I looked at my friend exclaiming, “Susy, we are in a parade let’s smile and wave ! Horns honking people cheering, Susy and I joined in with the locals waving and smiling at the town folks lined along the street to greet us. What a celebration even though at the time I did not even know what we were celebrating. That joyful parade escorted us right to the Outlet Mall as it merrily winded down Highway 101 to their final destination.
Entering the outlet mall we found a shop promoting a few $3.00 sale racks. First a parade and now this?, glory be! Flipping through the first sale rack a second time around, I spotted a shirt that made my heart sing, it was pink and white striped, nuff said except it had white pom pom balls dangling from it’s short sleeves. Be still my beating heart! Excitedly I brought my purchases to the cashier forgoing trying some on due to time constraints. Being in a parade can be rather time consuming.
Upon arriving at our rental home I showed a couple ladies the shirts I got, which at the time I thought unusual for me. As I pulled out my favorite top I said, “This one might not fit me, of which my dear friend Vicky said”, it might fit me, I’m short waisted, “it was a divine set up, her saying that was just as unusual as me showing her the shirt in the first place. A tug of war with my flesh began to ensue as a whimsical shirt hung in the balance. Lord, should I give her the shirt even if it fits me? But Lord I LOVE that shirt! The Lord lovingly brought me to the story of Abraham and Issac, Abraham willingly laid his son Issac, God’s promise on the altar as a sacrifice, knowing full well God would provide another sacrifice. When Abraham looked up he saw a ram with his horns caught in the thicket and Abraham was able to sacrifice the ram God provided instead. Small as it might be God was asking me to and let go and look up. Just maybe I will find another one, regardless how it plays out it needs to cost me something or it’s not a true sacrifice. Truth is I love my dear friend Vicky exceedingly more then that shirt. That night I released my quirky shirt to a friend whose heart was hurting, heavy and sorely in need of something to put a smile on her face far more then I did. The joy of seeing her in that shirt as she worshiped the Lord playing her guitar and singing, made my heart sing profusely more then a $3.00 shirt could ever hope to. Letting go and letting God is a work out indeed, as I worked out my flesh that day feeling the burn, and it was worth every step of the way.
Today you may be facing a sacrifice that goes far beyond a cotton shirt, one that costs an emotional journey that at the present does not feel like a horn honking, hand waving celebratory event. Rest assured it will be, because God has a bigger, better, fly in the face of the world’s economy… a provision that leaves you in awe of His kindness and tender care. We never go wrong when we trust in Him for He clothes us in His righteousness and we are changed.
About clothing, turns out after returning home the same chain store in town had that one shirt left, yep! the identical pink and white striped shirt and just my size. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too … even after you were in a parade.
“Friendship consists of forgetting what one gives , and remembering what one receives”