It’s possible to love our families more than we love God, a sin that turns our children into idols. The Lord once tested two men along these lines—the patriarch Abraham with his son and the philanthropist George Mueller with his daughter. Mueller’s ministry was primarily to orphans, but it was his own child who most tested his faith. His journal says:
My beloved daughter and only child, and a believer since 1846, was taken ill on June 20, 1853. This illness, at first a low fever, turned to typhus. On July 3rd there seemed no hope of her recovery. Now was the trial of faith. But faith triumphed. My beloved wife and I were enabled to give her up into the hands of the Lord. He sustained us both exceedingly. Though my only and beloved child was brought near the grave, yet was my soul in perfect peace, satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, being assured that He would only do that for her and her parents, which in the end would be best. She continued very ill till about July 20th, when restoration began.
Parents know what an only child, a beloved child, is. Well, the Father in Heaven said, as it were, “Art thou willing to give up this child to me?” My heart responded, “As it seems good to Thee, my Heavenly Father. Thy will be done.” But as our hearts were made willing to give back our child to Him, so He was ready to leave her to us, and she lived.
Of all the trials of faith that as yet I have had to pass through, this was the greatest; and by God’s abundant mercy, I own it to His praise, I was enabled to delight myself in the will of God; for I felt perfectly sure, that, if the Lord took this beloved daughter, it would be best for her parents, best for herself, and more for the glory of God than if she lived. This better part I was satisfied with; and thus my heart had peace, perfect peace.
“Don’t hurt the boy or harm him in any way!” the angel said. “Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the bushes. So he took the ram and sacrificed it in place of his son.” Abraham named that place “The Lord Will Provide (Jehovah-Jireh).” (Genesis 22:12-14a)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). July 3.