A Suitcase of Supplies

I taught my little six-pack of 13-year-olds an Easter Sunday school lesson last week about Abraham and Isaac being a similitude for Jesus Christ.

It was, unexpectedly, one of those experiences where the spirit told me what to say as I said it. I was learning while I taught my students, which is both terrifying and thrilling.

We read the story together in Genesis. We talked about the swiftness with which Abraham listened to the commandment to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice. Despite the awfulness of the task, he didn’t even hesitate. He just went. (Wow, basically).

As he climbed the mountain with Isaac, who carried the bundle of kindling on his back, he asked his father where the animal was that they would offer to the Lord.

“God will provide,” Abraham answered.

I imagine his palms were sweating and his stomach churning as he said this. I imagine him feeling the kind of desperate desolation I have felt regularly as the parent of a nonverbal, aggressive, developmentally-disabled, giant son.

I felt I should tell the class that an altar is a designated holy spot where we leave an offering for God. Even when the offering He wants seems too big and too much, somehow it will work out.

God reminded me of a dream I had not long ago of being at Disneyland with Henry, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law,  Mia. The four of us went to Disneyland together years ago, incidentally.

But in my dream, Mia, who now has three little children, was pregnant. She unexpectedly went into labor in a busy stairwell right there in the happiest place on earth. Such a happy way to deliver a baby, I KNOW. I know.

We all remained calm. My mother-in-law delivered the baby then and there, in a corner just out of the way of the crowds moving around us.

Then we were back in our hotel room. Mia was bundled up, resting, and my mother-in-law bustled quietly around the room, taking care of the baby. “I’m looking for something to wrap the baby in,” she whispered to me, so as to not wake Mia. “I need to keep the baby warm.”

I remembered something.  “When I was packing, I thought I should throw in a couple of baby blankets,” I said. “I’ll get them.” It makes no sense, but that’s dream life for you. I walked to my suitcase and unzipped it.

To my astonishment, I found not only baby blankets for swaddling, but also onesies, footed jammies, diapers, wipes, tiny socks, baby shampoo, swabs, and binkies. My suitcase was packed with baby supplies that I didn’t even know we would need.

I felt joy seeing that beyond the blankets, which would have been serendipitous enough, we had everything we needed. We had everything.

“God will provide,” I repeated to the teens in my class.

Things looked bleak for an obedient Abraham. But God did provide. I personally think having an angel stop you from killing the much-yearned-for son of your old age at just the exact critical moment is essentially a textbook definition of God providing.

And, He placed a ram in a nearby thicket. And it was stuck. And they already had the altar and the fire ready to go.

God will provide, because He already has.

He packed my suitcase of supplies way before I knew what even needed to be in it. He packed it with everything.

He has given us what we need at this moment in time. 

I walk up the mountain, bereft, a bundle of kindling on my back, wondering where the animal sacrifice is.

God will provide.

I set my punching, head-banging eleven-year-old on the altar.

I leave my bad, bad, difficult, never-ending Jack Is Sick weekend on the altar.

I put my not-yet-potty-trained stinky preschooler on the altar.

I set my persistent headache on the altar.

I drag the nasty hazmat couch up the entire mountain and upend it on the altar. Joyfully.

Then I hold a carefully-guarded stone of resistance over the altar. “I want what you want,” I say.

I leave it there.


  9 comments for “A Suitcase of Supplies

  1. April 3, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I love this so much. Abraham’s whole life is packed with lessons that continue to unfold for me at just the right times.

    Also, “When I was packing, I thought I should throw in a couple of baby blankets,” made me laugh out loud. I love dreamland.

  2. Jennifer
    April 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you for this. I often imagine myself hauling bags of trash to the sacrament table. It smells terrible and I can imagine the entire congregation catching a whiff of exactly what I’m hauling in every week. I’ve decided I don’t care. God knows my junk. All that matters is that I made the effort to haul it in, knowing he will provide a miraculous intervention. He always does. Never apologize for waxing spiritual.

  3. April 3, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. THANK you for writing.

  4. April 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    The best two and a half hours in all my byu years was when Steve Walker taught this story in Bible as Lit. We talked most of the class about Sarah. There are incredible messages in the old testament when reading between the lines.

  5. Julie M
    April 6, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Sometimes I feel so selfish when reading your blog. Your words do me good. Maybe some day I’ll find a way to pay you back. 🙂

  6. Kerri
    April 7, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Oh man, this is beautiful.

  7. Holli
    April 9, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I love the art at the end of the post, who is the artist? Thank you for your writing.

  8. Heidi
    May 16, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I found your blog via the special needs spotlight . It has been manna to my soul. Im also a special needs mom(autism) and your perspective and experiences have been light to me. There is always a ram in the thicket. Thank you.

  9. Mia
    May 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I think I’ll always remember that trip and especially riding the ferris wheel with H. I’m glad you were prepared to provide for me and my baby. You’re providing for me now, in real time, with your interpretations and perspective and thoughts on God and His love for your and your family and all of us. Thank you for sharing. You have me all teary. Love you.

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