Many of us would say we want to serve God with our whole heart. We would give Him anything He asked for. If we're honest, we say those words hoping He won't ask for anything too hard. But, sometimes He does. Sometimes He wants what holds our hearts.
Think of Abraham. Isaac was the son of his old age, the son of his beloved wife Sarah, the son who was Abraham's life. He loved him more than himself, as we all do our children. Knowing that, Abraham's Heavenly Father, our Heavenly Father, asked him to sacrifice his beloved son. Why? The Scriptures tell us, so he could test his devotion. My heart tears in two just thinking about what Abraham must have felt.
I've often thought that I would do pretty well with Abrahamic tests. I gave my life to Christ in my teen years without my parents permission. They were angry and retaliated. My teen years were difficult, but I maintained my convictions. My new found faith protected me from a life of immorality that I have watched destroy my siblings.
When my first born was six months old, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was terrified. My Dillon was my whole heart. It took me five years to have that special boy. I had been praying for a child for a loooong time. Now I wasn't sure I would be around to raise him. Oh, how my heart was shaking. When I got home from my post op appointment where I had received my diagnosis, I went straight to my scriptures. I read in Luke where the angel had just come to Mary and told her all the plans she had for her life where about to be changed. What was Mary's response? "I am the bondservant of the Lord, Be it done to me according to your word." I remember tears pouring down my face as I gazed at my young son and praying, "Oh, Father, I know I should feel this way. Right now all I can do is say it. Please help my heart to match up." The Lord not only spared my life, but blessed me with three additional children, and two others that died, but I will get to raise in eternity. I already love them.
Years later I felt the Lord drawing me to the Mormon faith. It was so different from the faith I had been devoted to. I was terrified I was being deceived. So was the church I was attending. It ended with divorce, excommunication, and ostracization. My whole life had fallen apart. I lost my marriage, my whole means of financial support, and every friend I had, but one, my dear friend Vicki. Yet, almost a year later, we are surviving, I am growing in the knowledge of the Lord, and we have made some of the best friends we have ever been blessed with in our entire lives. (Yeah, that is you Wally and Nancy!) Plus, in just over a month, I get my endowments.
You would think, with all that history and experience, I would remember that God never requires anything of us that He doesn't help us get through and bless us because of. Yet, a few weeks ago, when Heavenly Father required something else, something hard, I fell apart. I didn't want to hand it over. I wanted to hold onto it and say, "Not this too!" I felt betrayed and abandoned, like God was toying with me. What it really meant though was that I had not yet learned to trust Him. In all these years, I still didn't trust God. I was obeying simply because I love Him and desire to honor Him. Plus, I have a fear of disobedience. He must be very frustrated with me. Yet, even in the midst of disappointing Him, He shows me remarkable love and patience.
He has not chastized me once. Probably because He knows I do that quite enough for the both of us. Instead He has patiently waited for me to remember that He does love me, that He has my best interest at heart. Do I know in what way Heavenly Father will help me through this next sacrifice, or what blessing will result from obedience? Nope. I know it is hard. But, I also feel times of strength and joy. I'm obeying and waiting. I am also saying with Mary, "I am the bondservant of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word." And I'm a lot closer to meaning it, than not.