You know that story in the Bible when God told Abraham to go on and sacrifice his son? Isaac was all like, “Uh dad? Aren’t we supposed to have some sort of thing to sacrifice?” And Abraham was like, “We’re just gonna trust God on this one”. Abraham was just about to step out and in faith and actually send his son up in flames when all of a sudden, a ram appears! You can imagine the huge sigh of relief that escaped Abraham when he was able to sacrifice the ram instead of his son. But what happens when God doesn’t send a ram? I’m not advocating child-sacrifice, but I am asking you, what would you do if God asked you to sacrifice something super important to you. Would you step out in obedience even if instead of God being like, ” Nice job bro. You can keep that thing. You showed obedience in your willingness” and was instead like, “Thank you for your sacrifice.It is pleasing to me”? God’s been bringing me to Psalm 42, the Psalm that talks about uber craving the Lord. One verse from it goes like this( so you don’t think I’m a heretic, I’ll provide scriptural documentation) ” As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”( Psalm 42:1). Are we really craving God so much that we are willing to sacrifice anything that gets in the way of our relationship with Him? I’m writing all this because this is what God has been bringing me through. Two weeks ago, I was praying that God would strip away anything that was blocking my eyes from Him. “Anything it is, Lord. I’ll sacrifice it to you.” As I waited to hear the Lord’s voice, what followed next was the name of my best friend. We had only been friends for a year, but this person meant so much to me. We had been through so much. We spent so much time together. I thought that we would be friends for the rest of my life. How could I possibly let this person go? ” Lord, I don’t have enough strength to cut off this relationship. If you want it gone, then take it from me,” thinking that God would be pleased with my obedience and not require an actual sacrifice. But sure enough, a week later, my friend hurt me in an inexcusable way. I felt the Lord say something like, ” This is it. Cut off the relationship.” So through many tears, asking forgiveness from the Lord, forgiving my friend, seeking the Lord’s face, and worshiping through it all, I cut off the relationship. And it hurt. Sacrificial fire burns. But it was also freeing, peaceful, and oddly joyful. Yesterday, I got baptized again. The Lord wanted me to do it both to symbolize the cleansing of my sins and also to represent the stripping away of idols in my life. As I came up from the baptismal, the weight I had been carrying around fell off like the water dripping off me, and I felt truly forgiven and free. Today, I feel super peaceful and in awe of the Lord’s goodness. So all that to say, if the Lord is calling you to enter a season of stripping away, don’t fear. The pain is only temporary and the joy is eternal.