Since I often talk about the importance of getting into the Word, I started a series where I share one scripture or passage of scripture each Wednesday and talk about why it has meant so much to me. I hope it encourages you to get into the Word and to use these scriptures as starting points perhaps, but to also find meaningful things in the Bible on your own as well.
Ever since my first miscarriage I feel like I've been on a roller coaster; highs and lows that I feel are out of my control. But I've noticed there is one thing that keeps me stable, and that is God's Word. Hebrews 4:12 says that it is ALIVE, meaning that we can interact and engage with it! When you open His Word with an open mind, He will fill it as you read and you will walk away feeling encouraged, challenged, peaceful, and joyful no matter your earthly circumstances!
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
| GENESIS 22:13-14 |
The only reason I love this passage of scripture so much is because Angie Smith brought the house down at IF:Gathering 2016 when she spoke on this chapter. That was in February 2016, so I was only a few months out from my first miscarriage and I was still feeling very heavy from all of the grief. And I will tell you upfront that this post is taken right from the video and includes a lot of quotes from Angie! (Unfortunately, you cannot watch her message for free, but you can purchase the recording of the entire IF:Gathering 2016 here.)
After my first miscarriage I read Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You and it was so comforting to me. Angie lost her daughter, Audrey Caroline, after carrying her to full term. At around 20 weeks pregnant Angie and her husband were told that their daughter had a diagnosis that was "incompatible with life." They chose to carry their little girl instead of terminating the pregnancy like doctors suggested and so many beautiful things have been born out of Audrey's life despite so much heartbreak.
Angie said that one day, as she was visiting Audrey at her grave, she felt prompted to read Genesis 22. She had to read it several times through because she felt like she was missing something, but finally she noticed what God was trying to show her. In her talk she began talking about Genesis 3, where the devil deceives Eve. She said what the enemy was really asking, and continues to ask us every day is, "Are you sure that God has your best in mind? Are you sure you can trust Him?"
Then a few verses later, God asks Adam, "Where are you?" God knew where he was physically, but He was asking, "What is the posture of your heart toward me?"
Then Angie jumps to Genesis 22 and points out that in verse two it is the first time “love” shows up in Scripture and it’s referring to the love a father has for his son. And we know the story-- Abraham goes up the mountain with Isaac to sacrifice his only son. In verse 7 Isaac even asks his father where the sacrifice is and in verse 8 Abraham tells him that "God will provide for himself the lamb." At the top of the mountain Abraham ties Isaac to the alter he built and is about to stab his son to death when an angel of the Lord appears and stops him.
At that moment Abraham looked up and verse 13 says, "and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns." Angie points out that He said nothing about a ram, the promise was a lamb.
Then Abraham named the place where they were Jehovah-jireh which means the Lord will provide. Angie asked, "When you think about who Christ is to you when you are being tested, have you spent more time with your eyes locked on a thicket or a cross?" Do we spend more time expecting the answer we desire or laying everything down, including our desires, at the cross?
I think part of what made Angie's talk so good was how vulnerable she was. She admitted that there are plenty of places in her life where it’s hard for her to call it "Jehovah-jireh" or where the Lord has provided.
That convicted me so much. I was only 2.5 months out from my first miscarriage and my heart was broken and questioning. But I knew my hope was anchored in Jesus and the peace that only he can give.
Towards the end of her talk, Angie said, "Two thousand years later on this same mountain range, Jesus Christ was crucified on our behalf; HE WAS THE PROMISED LAMB." He will not fail us!
Angie wrapped up her talk so well by bringing it full circle back to Genesis 3. She said:
"When you hear the enemy whisper, and you will, 'Are you sure?' Here’s your answer, 'I am not sure about the ram, I am CERTAIN of the Lamb...' And when God says, 'Where are you?' You say, 'Here I am. Ready and willing. You send me where you want me to go. And in your power and in your strength, I will do that...' Be encouraged that you have a Father who LOVES you, Who keeps His promises, Who desires good for you even in the moments we do not understand it."
I know I basically just quoted the entire video for you today instead of sharing many of my own thoughts, but hearing this message changed me and came at a time when I really needed it. I get teary every time I read this block of scripture now because it holds so much promise!
We have no guarantees about the ram,
we have EVERY guarantee of the Lamb
Past Wednesdays In The Word:
Remember to check out what my friend Anne Marie is doing over at The Loved Bible Project! She wrote this sweet post about Wednesdays In The Word and how we are teaming up! Each week I will continue to post about a scripture that has helped me in my time of loss and Anne Marie is going to make a free printable that you can find in her Resources page! We encourage you to print it out and spend time soaking in God's Word as you decorate it and then include it in your own Bible or start working on a Loved Bible!