Seated across from Harrison, just the two of us at dinner, a lone candle flickers in the middle of the table. After cutting a roll and filling it with barbecued pork, he builds a story between bites, revealing dreams I hadn’t heard him speak of before.
As we debrief about the day’s events and homework, he explains a longing to board a ship and sail to Europe so he can attend school in the UK and live in a small flat. A new home, overlooking the city, where he can watch people bustling about. “I don’t want to live with regrets,” he says with a half-smile, eyes squinting behind his hipster glasses. In essence, what my son is expressing is that he doesn’t want to live chasing someone else’s dream for his life.
At that time, more than three years ago, H and I hadn’t mentioned our dream to live in London yet. But this new awareness becomes a holy moment over dinner at 6:30 on a Wednesday night. Nodding my head, I assure Harrison that his dad and I want him to live with abandon.
While H and I walked around with swollen hearts for England, God was preparing Harrison for change too, even though he wasn’t aware of the imminent changes about to happen. He wasn’t planning on missing nine months of his junior year of high school to sit around waiting for a visa process.
In the Akedah, God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2).
Abraham got up early, saddled his donkey, prepared his servants to travel, and split wood for the offering. Three days later, the mountain they were walking toward appeared in the distance. And Abraham says something that reveals the depth of his trust.
He told his two young servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (22:5).
We is the key word here. Not I, but we. Even in the midst of all that uncertainty about how things were going to go down, Abraham is sure he will return with Isaac. He doesn’t know how, but he trusts beyond comprehension. “God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering” (22:8 MSG).
Abraham named that place God-Yireh or “God-see-to-it.” God sees to our uncertainty with His power, presence, and majesty.
This morning, I welcomed my son at the door of our London terrace house, fresh off a train from Scotland with blistered feet and sunburned face, carrying a smelly backpack of wet, muddy clothes after hiking in the Cairngorms.
A few minutes later, I sit across from him at the table and watch how he savors scrambled eggs, bacon, and stack of toast; slurping a fruit smoothie, stopping only to speak between swallows about stories from his adventure. Through the uncertainty of climbing a mountain in cold, windy weather, I hear that same resolve about chasing dreams; a confident assurance in the man he is becoming.
Living a good story requires listening attentively like Abraham and letting go of the need for certainty.
As we enter a new month, season, and school year, let’s transition into autumn the same way Abraham approached the Akedah. We may not know exactly how things will turn out, but God is with us, directing our steps as we listen for his still, small voice.
He has a track record for providing what we need when we need it and sometimes in ways beyond comprehension. Staring you in the face with love and gratitude like a lamb in the thicket of your kitchen table.
This post is adapted from Rhythms of Rest, Chapter 9 – Uncertainty: Rest and Love are Connected. Download this printable September calendar with daily prompts that help you persevere in finding rest in our uncertain world.