This week's Old Testament reading, of God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, was a topic of much discussion last year in my Bible/Angel Study. Many of the women in the group struggled with that passage, wondering how Abraham knew it was truly God telling him to do this and how Abraham could possibly followed that instruction. Now maybe it's just that I don't have children, but I don't struggle with that story (ask me about the parable of the Prodigal Son, on the other hand...).
In truth, I think the real reason that I do not struggle with the sacrifice that God asked of Abraham is that I see echoes of it in the sacrifice that we are asked to make. We are all asked to put our fertility, our dreams and hopes of children, in His hands. Some of us will, in time, be granted children, and some of us will be asked to permanently sacrifice our dreams of children. Some will never see a positive pregnancy test and others will see that joy only briefly, before surrendering their child back to God. We are asked to trust in Him, trust in His love and goodness, trust that He wants what is best for us and for all His people.
Last year, in our discussions that sacrifice was real to me in that there was a loss, a sense of sacrifice every cycle that we failed to conceive. But now, with a few short weeks left, that sacrifice is more concrete. As we prepare to stop TTC and to tell friends and family that we are done, we have to accept that I will never be pregnant, that we will never see those first ultrasound pictures of our child, that I will never give birth, that we will never have biological children, that we will never look at our children and see bits of ourselves reflected back at us. In a very concrete way we are being asked to sacrifice the children of our hopes and dreams to God.
How could Abraham prepare to sacrifice Isaac? God had made a covenant with Abraham, had made him very specific promises, which Abraham trusted God to fulfill. I have no covenant with God, have not been promised "descendants as numerous as the stars," but I, too, must trust Him with my sacrifice.