After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:1, NRSV)
In the midst of bunting, bottle rockets, and bombpops, there will be time today for you to take a step back. A lull will come upon the festivities of Independence Day, and you’ll have a chance to slow down a bit.
Maybe it’ll be in the afternoon heat when a nap sounds really good. Perhaps it’ll be between the cookout and the fireworks when anticipation fills the kids to the brim. Or how about after the grand finale is over and you wait to avoid the traffic back to your home. Heck, it could even be right now, as you took the time to stop and read this devotion.
It leads me to wonder what Abraham was doing when God called to him for the proverbial test. Was he doing his household chores? Was he lounging around? Was he playing with his son? Scripture simply tells us “after these things…” He could have been doing anything, and God called and said, “Hey Abraham, I’ve got something for you to do…”
God tested Abraham, even when he was in the midst of his daily life. God called him out of the monotony of routine, into an account of his faith. As uncomfortable as this story makes us (and it should make you uncomfortable), we cannot lose sight that God inquired to how devoted Abraham actually was. God needed to make sure Abraham was up to snuff, so God set forth the mechanisms for Abraham to demonstrate what was truly in his heart.
Abraham said “Here I am” and went about doing what he needed to do in response to God’s call. God continually calls us to an accounting of our faith, but we seem to miss the question. We think it’s going to be announced and proclaimed like the bang of a firework, but God also works through the everyday, little things of life. We miss our chances when we focus only on the loud, only on the provocative, only on the grand.
God tests us daily, in the midst of our ordinary lives, wherever we are that particular day. It could be 52601, or not. It could be in Iowa, Illinois, or Missouri, or not. It could be in the United States, or not. Wherever we are, God calls us to continually live in and live out our faith.
So even today, even on July 4th, God calls you to live as though you belong to God’s kingdom. How will you respond? Will God hear your, “here I am”?