I've been thinking a lot recently about the Offerings of the Old Testament. We no longer make physical offerings in these New Testament days but I believe a walk with God includes daily spiritual offerings.
The whole notion of an offering is becoming freeing for me. Repeatedly, I find myself giving up things, relationships, fears, failures, hopes and plans to the Lord. According to the pattern in the Old Testament, God receives an offering when we put it on the fire and let it up go to God, He receives it but all we see on earth and in our lives is smoke.
I never really understood why God asked for such sacrifices. Now I am beginning to appreciate it. It's a constant relinquishing of control, a constant reminder that our lives are not our own. It's not a mindless forfeiting of our will, on the contrary, it is an act of obedience, a voluntary surrender.
In the end, I am finding that these offerings, these surrenders, the relinquishing of control is for our benefit. It frees us, it liberates us, it allows us to focus on the task at hand and ultimately on the purpose for which God made us. Yes, the fire hurts but I am learning to accept that suffering is part of our lot and even part of God's way on this earth. After all, did He not say in Hebrews 12:10 that He made Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation, perfect through suffering? Why do I ever doubt that His Will is always for our good in the end.