God graciously put me in a situation where I wound up teaching Genesis 22, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, at our Women’s Bible Study back in January. Considering our journey with Judson, it was incredibly difficult passage for me to engage while also amazingly poignant.
I experienced a lot of weeping, wrestling, and crying out to God as I delved into the various nuances of the passage, all the while seeing parallels to our own story.
I find it interesting that our prayer for Judson from the time he began developing in my womb stemmed from God’s covenant to Abraham…“I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.” Our longing was for God to use Judson as a blessing in this world.
Yet, 2 ½ years into Jud’s life we found ourselves being called to lay him on the altar, allow God to use him however he might choose, similar to the way God called Abraham to lay Isaac on the altar and be willing to sacrifice his beloved boy, trusting God no matter what the call.
I remember when Judson was suffering and we were beseeching God to heal our son, several people mentioned the connection of our story to Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. And, quite frankly, I could not help but be encouraged by the outcome of Abraham’s story as Isaac was spared by God; the Lord provided an alternate offering, the ram in the thicket.
So as Judson fought Krabbe, I cried out to God to provide a substitute sacrifice for our boy, a “ram in the thicket” so to speak. I called on the Lord all hours of the night, begging him to spare Judson from death, knowing he had the power to do so and even believing he would provide another option.
But Judson died.
And ever since that day, November 7, 2007, I’ve been wrestling with God, wondering why he didn’t provide a “ram in the thicket.” Why didn’t he spare Judson? I struggled to understand. My Heavenly Father could easily have made another way so I could be holding my son today. But he didn’t.
Why not a ‘ram’ for Judson?
But God seemed to speak directly to my heart while I probed deeply into this all-too-close-to-home passage. As I dove headlong into the story of Abraham and Isaac, studying all the nuances of Genesis chapter 22, my perspective shifted.
The whole passage is intended to point us to Jesus! The ram in the thicket is prophesying the Lamb of God who would be slain — the alternate offering for all of us. Jesus was slaughtered to pay the definitive price; that, by his grace, we might be saved.
As I studied and studied, tears streaming down my cheeks onto my Bible, God spoke directly to my heart:
Christina, do you see? Do you see now? I did provide the ram for Judson. I did provide an alternate sacrifice for your beloved boy. I provided my very own Son! And because the Lamb of God died and rose again, your son is now alive. You may not hold him today, but Jesus has rescued you both from death, and you will one day hold your son again. Jesus is the only ram Judson needed! He is the only ram you need! Jesus is enough!
I bow my heart in surrender, gratitude, brokenness and love to the Lamb who was slain. Praise God for the ram in the thicket! By his death and resurrection we are saved!
This is hope! This is Easter!
If you would like to listen to the audio of me teaching the study of Genesis 22 for the women at our church, you can click here. If you can’t listen to the whole thing, I share about my personal revelations with this passage in the last 3rd of the lesson.