Have you ever made great plans that went down the drain?
Did you ever dream big, only to realize that it was just a dream?
Were you excited about your ambitions, and then shocked, surprised and maybe even defeated when they didn’t come to fruition?
In the beginning of our prayers every morning, we read about the Akeida. It’s the story of a father being ready to sacrifice his only son to fulfill G‑d’s will.
This is how it started.
Abraham and Sarah did not have children for many years. But they held on tightly to G‑d’s promise that they would have a child who would be the start of a great nation.
You can only imagine Abraham and Sarah’s joy when Isaac was born to them in their old age. You can only imagine the love they had for their only, long-awaited son, and the dreams they had for him, and for the great nation that was to be.
But time passed. Isaac was 37 years old. He was not married. There was no nation yet. And one fine day, G‑d told Abraham: “Take your only son, the one that you love, and go where I will show you. There you should offer him up as a sacrifice.”
Hold on. If Abraham would offer Issac as a sacrifice, what would happen to the promised great nation? Why would G‑d give Abraham dreams, only to crush them?
But Abraham stood strong in his faith, ready to follow G‑d’s instructions. And then, just as Abraham was about to slaughter his son, an angel stopped him, and forbade him from harming Isaac with even a scratch.
G‑d acknowledged Abraham’s faithfulness and blessed him abundantly. And the next day, life was back to normal.
Wait, what? What kind of game was G‑d trying to play with Abraham?
After the angel stopped Abraham from harming Isaac, G‑d told Abraham: “You did not withhold your only son, the one you love, from Me.” G‑d had found what he was looking for: Abraham’s unwavering commitment, his absolute faith.
Sometimes, we get so caught up with running our lives and dreaming big for ourselves. We think we know what’s best for us, and we think we know what we’re best for. We’re running towards our glorious future.
And then, G‑d says: “Take what you love most, and go where I will show you.”
The best path in life is G‑d’s path.
Sometimes, G‑d sends us a little reminder that He is in charge, that He knows best. And He does. He knows an even better best than the one we were imagining. G‑d has bigger dreams for us than we do. All we have to do is show G‑d our unwavering commitment.
And you know what, once G‑d found this commitment from Abraham, Isaac went home unscathed, and Abraham was blessed even more than he had been before this test.
At the end of the day, when we commit ourselves to following G‑d’s path, G‑d is on our side.