Some of the best advice I've ever received was this week while working at the drive-thru window.
A regular customer came through and ordered his usual, and when he reached the window he recognized me from before I left for the school year. As several of my faithful customers had already, he said hello and asked, "Back for the summer?" I told him yes, and that I was working as much as I could until the middle of August when I would return back to college. He smiled and nodded, then commented as he left, "Those who sacrifice get the good stuff."
The good stuff? I thought about it for the rest of the day, and concluded that those words are probably some of the simplest but most meaningful that I've heard at the drive-thru. I wouldn't be surprised if the man was in the military at some point, because all soldiers are trained to sacrifice their comforts in life for a greater good. They know that great victory calls for great sacrifice. They learn by experience that freedom is not free.
God called Abraham to sacrifice the most precious person in his life: his long awaited son, Issac. Has God ever asked you to give back to Him something or someone you thought for sure God was going to let you keep all to yourself? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God gave Tim to me out of His amazing grace and mercy, but when the opportunity cam for Tim to join GloryBound, I prayed, "But God, you gave him to me! He's mine!"
God not only made it clear that He gave Tim to me, He made it clear that He wanted me to give Tim back to Him. Yes, God brought us together... yes, it was God's will for us to be together... But it was also God's will for Tim to be away from me for extended periods of time. Was God being unfair? No, actually. God is always fair. The truth is, Tim isn't really mine; He belongs to God. God saw fit to separate us for a time to help make Tim into the man of God that I always dreamed of him becoming.
And what is the lesson I'm learning through all of this? Those who sacrifice get the good stuff. When God leads Tim off GloryBound, he will be more prepared for the ministry than he ever could have been with me clinging onto his heels, never letting him out of my sight. I will be more prepared to accept sudden hospital visits and counseling sessions without complaining that he's "always busy." Both of us will benefit from this seeming inconvenience, because when I accept this sacrifice as God's will, we will reap joy that far exceeds any tears we shed.
Where does everything we "have" come from, anyway? Everything and everyone we hold dear belongs to God. That means that God asking Abraham to sacrifice Issac was reasonable because Issac, first and foremost, was God's. Letting go of Tim two summers in a row is the hardest thing I've ever done, but don't forget, God also wanted us together! That means when college and GloryBound are over we have marriage to look forward to! God's plan is always so much better than our own, and when He asks us to sacrifice something precious to us, always remember, "Those who sacrifice get the good stuff."