Really? REALLY?!

True confession: Sometimes, when faced with what seems like an impossible biblical story, I feel a sense of sarcasm outrage.

Don't get me wrong. I have no plans on pulling off some crazy, movie-worthy scene of insanity but I am often left wondering what the H. E. DoubleHockeySticks was God thinking. It's like this intricate little dance we play out, over and over and over. He is who He is, does what only He can get away with and I shake my head in absolute incredulity because really God? REALLY?!

That's right folks. Sometimes I find myself JUDGING GOD! (Please pause for a moment of silent meditation as you think through that.)

Day Two of Lent found me reading the story of Abraham....you know, the story where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.  So, here's the thing. Abraham was an old guy. Perhaps what God actually said was to sacrifice A Yak and Abraham just misheard him. A YAK! Abraham, A YAK! Not ISAAC!

For the love of......why on earth would God ask someone to kill their own kid?

But Abraham, in all his faith and obedience, showed up. And he didn't waste any time either I tell you. Makes you wonder what kind of kid Isaac was really. But what we do know is that Isaac wasn't dumb because half way up the mountain there's Isaac scratching his head saying, "Um, dad? Wait a second. We have all the stuff to kill and burn the lamb but we have no lamb.....where's the lamb?" (That's right Abraham.....he's on to you.)

And Abraham, very composed, responds: "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." (Don't trust him Isaac! RUUUUUN!)

The story continues and right before Abraham sacrifices his son, an Angel calls out for him to stop.  "Abraham!"

"Here I am," he replies and is then told not to lay a hand on his helpless, bound up son. Phew. Disaster averted. A yak, Abraham! A YAK! (Or a ram, whatever.)

And the rest of the unwritten story is that Isaac becomes the first human needing intensive mental health counseling for the REST OF HIS LIFE! (Many thanks, God.)

But, here's the thing. When you back up and reread earlier in the story of Abraham and Isaac, you read that God promises to establish his everlasting covenant with Isaac and his descendants. God made a promise. The only way I can explain this story and Abraham's response is that he remembered God's promise and he trusted God.

Over and over God makes His promise to us. A promise to remove our hearts of stone and give us new hearts, and a new spirit so that we will be transformed. Into the likeness of God. But first, like Abraham, we must show up. (Watch out, kids.....I'm not old and slow like Abraham....)


So there we were, the first morning of our family's Lenten Fast and the kids are all in the kitchen rummaging through the pantry and refrigerator saying, "Well shoot, what CAN we eat?"

You see, our family decided that our journey would be a "Fast from Wastefulness". We vowed to give up wasting time, money, talents, food, stuff, etc. etc....... Easy peasy Mac-n-Cheesy, right? (Well, except for the Mac-n-Cheese part, which would be a waste of calories.....) But this fast is already causing such huge dilemmas that it added twenty extra minutes to our morning routine yesterday and Madeline ended up being 10 minutes late to school. And while I had half a mind to claim religious reasons for her tardiness, I figured having to explain that we were fasting from wastefulness and then managed to waste extra time getting ready was probably not what they mean by Religious Practices. (Uh, strike one?)

But, before you start questioning my motives here, think about all the grey areas in this life. In one day of "fasting" my kids have learned that sometimes you have to choose between bad and worse....sometimes you just can't win. (Do we eat the open bag of cereal that is not healthy and therefore wasting the calories we fuel our bodies with, or do we not eat it and then waste food that we have purchased which means we have to spend, [waste?] more money on something else? There is waste either way.)

I like to think of it as a platform to teach about biblical contradictions (God is Love but then asks someone to sacrifice their only son.....which IS NOT LOVING, GOD! Just sayin'.....) Kurt likes to think of it as a good lesson in economic trade offs. Either way, it's like a win-win, by way of failing. Easy-Peasy, without Mac-N-Cheesy!

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