"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."
You know, today I am thinking about last minute saves. :) I could have used many scriptures here... the woman taken in adultery, about to be killed... Christ saves her. Even in the previous chapter here is the story of Hagar with her son Ishmael... she puts her son under a bush and walks away, so she doesn't have to see him die, because they are out of water in the middle of the desert. And then God opens her eyes, and she sees a well. The Nephites, about to be exterminated by the Gadianton Robbers... The Israelites, about to perish from the Famine... Alma's people at the Waters of Mormon, about to be wiped out by the soldiers of the king... it is a pretty consistent theme. Makes for good stories too. I like stories when you know, absolutely KNOW, that the hero will be saved in the end. You see the huge obstacles, you see the imminent destruction, and you wonder... okay, how is he going to get out of *this* one? :) You never wonder IF he will get out... just how. And that is like our lives. God teaches us a lot of things, and one of them is patience. Another is faith... trust, hope, confidence... and so when these things happen in our lives, and we swear we can hear the scary doom music starting up in the background... he opens our eyes. He gets us to look up, he helps us change our perspective... and there, caught in the thicket, or hidden behind some rocks in the desert... is our salvation. And yes, of course he could have given Abraham the ram to begin with... or showed Hagar the well from the beginning... but they wouldn't even be stories then, and there would be no heroes. These people are heroic and strong because they didn't see the salvation... they even accepted the awful reality that they saw... until God helped them to see better. And, because they went through those dramatic scenes, they are different people than if they had seen their salvation from the beginning. They learned something there... and we do the same, when we face our personal tragedies. We sometimes feel trapped in a fate that seems to us worse than anything... we somehow face the possibility... and then, God opens our eyes, and we see our salvation. It isn't always a fun thing. I'm sure that Hagar and her son still had problems. One well does not solve life in the desert. And Abraham and Isaac probably had some father-son bonding issues. :) But there was a way out, a way to continue... to grow, to learn, to progress. We don't always get saved from every sacrifice we make... some are necessary. But always, there is salvation... a way to capitalize on the experience and go on, happier and better. A way out of the despair... a bright pocket of hope. We just have to trust God, and let him open our eyes. :)