What is the church? And what can we liken it to in Genesis 22?
"And he said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And
he said, “Take your son, your only child, Isaac, whom you love, and go
to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of
the mountains where I will tell you.”"
Does God, who gave you everything you have, including you, have the right to ask for it back? Thank God, you say, that He doesn't test all of us in this way anymore! But does He? Many parents have had to wrestle with the question, "Is God good?" or "Is God trustworthy?" after the loss of a child? After something terrible has happened to their child? God is all powerful. Things we disdain to even put a price on matter to God. Buy one, get one-sparrows matter to him and not one dies but by his permission. Not one hair from your head falls without his noticing and approving the loss. You think He didn't know a child would die? Didn't ordain it? Didn't bring it about? The God who brought the universe into being and maintains it by His mere word? Please.
So if it's not a question of authority or power then it comes down to Eve's question. Is God good? Is God good in this? Job asked it. Anyone who suffers has to ask it. If God asks you to do something hard, to give up something crucial, something treasured, something we think we can't live without, our lives, to follow him somewhere painful, will you obey then? If so, why? i sense we'll be camped out here for a few days but for today...
The church are those who hear the voice of God and obey it, because they know Him and trust Him.
"Whenever he sends out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And they will never follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10