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Alongside But Silent

By Ken and Jan Merop

Cleveland, Tennesseeken and Jan Merop


He traipsed up the mountain with his son beside him.  The boy was old enough to hike and converse with his father…asking questions and accepting his answers in a totally uncertain situation.

Though they walked side by side, I imagine that each was lost in his own thoughts.  The father silently whispers breath prayers to God.  The son wondered why he carried wood for a nonexistent sacrifice.

Have you ever been in such a situation with feelings, wonderings, and questions that may mimic those experienced by this pair?

I recall climbing the mountain of uncertainty when I found myself a single parent of a very young toddler.  Even as he grew and asked many questions, I could only hope my answers given to him held the weight of the Scriptures I based them on.

Sometimes boulders appeared from nowhere as I rounded yet another unknown path.  Was single parenting the only road I would travel?

When traversing a rocky road, climbing a towering mountain, or slaying one of many harassing giants, where do we turn?  Do we stand on a solid foundation?  To whose voice do we listen?

Genesis 22: 1-19 unveils the whole story of Abraham and Isaac’s journey to Mount Moriah.  Don’t overlook, “God tested Abraham,” in verse 1.

Why does God test us?

In school, a test determines how much we have learned. The teacher wants us to pass.  It helps her determine what we still need to know and when to move on.

When God tests us, he wants us to pass!  He allows obstacles, circumstances, challenges, and the like to see how strong our faith in him is.  Will we trust him no matter what?   Or will we let the seeming unreasonableness of the situation take our focus off him?

For Abraham, God asked him to climb Mt. Moriah and offer his son of promise, Isaac, as a burnt offering.  But Abraham told the other young men with him to wait while he and Isaac continued.  In faith, Abraham said, “We will come back to you.”

The rest of the story is so extraordinary.  You see, a ram caught in a thicket became the sacrifice in place of Isaac.

I’ve recently been given a beautiful picture of this story.

Did God just let the ram appear when needed?  He may have.

Or, perhaps, as Abraham and Isaac trekked up one side of the mountain, by God’s design, a ram clambered on the other side. Hidden from view until the right time.

That is our God.  Forever there, providing.

Alongside always, but sometimes silent.  Will we trust him?  Selah

Mountain Glow

A fiery glow invites a closer look and

white-capped mountains point to an ominous sky…

captured by evergreens in a frame of life.

Troubles may come with fiery trials,

but we are held in God’s loving hands.

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.

No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”

John 10: 28 & 29b


After six years in the mountains of Avery County, Ken and Jan Merop are now living in the hilly Tennessee countryside of Cleveland, TN…just outside of Chattanooga.  Ken’s photos can be seen at

Read more Christian news from Ken and Jan HERE.