This morning I cracked open my brand-new Ave Catholic Note-Taking Bible, wondering what God might have to say to me as I begin a new work day. Craig is in Portland on a business trip with his brother, and though he called me last night to tell me they had arrived safely, I couldn’t shake the sense of dread I felt about them flying in his brother’s jet. Small planes terrify me, and the thought of two sixty-something brothers cavorting in the clouds does not ease my mind one iota. I am not prepared to let my husband fly away to glory. Not yet.
Before he left, Craig and I talked about someone who would be going on that same trip, that same plane, someone whose destructive life choices had fractured his family. I had reminded Craig of the great lengths God will go to at times to get our attention, to get us to turn back to him. “We need to just keep praying,” I said to Craig. “That God will get his attention somehow.”
So … imagine my horror to open the Bible this morning and read…
Truly no man can ransom himself, or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of his life is costly, and can never suffice,
that he should continue to live on for ever, and never see the Pit.
Yes, he shall see that even the wise die,
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others…. .Psalm 49:7-10
The thought came to me: What would I be willing to sacrifice for this person to turn back to God? Would I be willing to trust God to do whatever it takes … no matter what?
The answer is “I don’t know.” I hope and pray God doesn’t require that of me, and that Craig will fly back and return to me unharmed. But at that moment all I could think of were my self-righteous words yesterday, and how God must have heard them and decided I needed a lesson in compassion. How quick I was to wish folly on another human being (in the guise of “spiritual awakening”) so long as it didn’t cost me anything, and all I had to do was sit back and wait for the fireworks.
But this morning I was reminded: redemption always comes at a cost. And very often, that cost may be the one thing we hold most dear. Am I willing — as Abram was willing — to trust him by putting my all on the altar?
So help me, God.
Oh my Goodness, this has my heart racing. I often think of the sacrifice of Isaac – how absolutely soul wrenching that must have been. I prayed for the gift of each of my 6 adopted children. God has blessed me so many times through adoption and foster care that I then worry, have I used up all his blessings? Do I now have to pay it back? Will I now have to put my all on the altar?
This is a great Lenten reflection for us all. Thank you God for paying the price.
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You are absolutely right — Abraham’s sacrifice pointed to the even greater sacrifice God made two thousand years later. Thankfully, God does not demand that we match him gift for gift … but it’s always good to remember that redemption is priceless. And that’s what I learned today.