"I've Given You an Isaac" Deborah and I were married 30 years ago on our favorite beach at the south end of Lake Willoughby, in Vermont, surrounded by our four daughters. We sang our vows to one another with the lake reflecting a full moon between the twin peaks of Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. It was an awesome display of His handiwork, one that you dont need a picture to remember. It was wonderful. The next day we left on our honeymoon and on our return discovered much to our delight that we had conceived a child. We were so very excited and the Lord spoke to me and said, Ive given you an Isaac. We were excited about the baby, but doubly excited because we felt that this was a special blessing from God. We believed God was smiling on us and giving us a child to seal the marriage and our family. I was thrilled, we already had four daughters and finally we would have a son. I told everybody the good news, that the Lord had given us a son and his name would be Isaac. As you can imagine, the girls were also excited. A new baby and a brother at the same time! I was so sure that I was having a boy that when my daughter was born my first response was, Theres something missing! It didnt dawn on me that it was a little girl because I was so sure it was a boy, but a girl it was. The only name we had was Isaac so it took us a couple of days to pick out a name. We decided on Grace Elizabeth. In scripture her name means unmerited favor, God's promise. I didnt understand how I could have possibly missed the Lords voice. I knew without any doubt that He had said to me, Ive given you an Isaac. I was troubled for a time but I loved my little girl so much I simply forgot about it most of the time. Of course my famous statement of, Theres something missing! came up whenever we shared about our kids and Id just smile because it sure sounded funny. And I still didnt have any answers The years went by and Grace was always a joy and very much a Daddys girl. We were a family of runners so as Grace grew up she always wanted to run. And run she could, at 11 years old she ran her first sub 20 minute 5K road race. She excelled both on the track and on cross-country courses. By the time she was 12 college coaches were scouting her. That same year she finished in 6th place in a national championship race at 800 meters. Her normal training time would have won her the championship but she looked like she was limping. She said her leg was fine and she ran as fast as she could but couldnt find her normal gear. She continued having problems running during the cross-country season and didnt even qualify for the national championship. The doctors couldnt find anything wrong with Grace so she decided to take some time off and then begin training. Her goal was to win the national championship in both Track and Cross-Country. She knew her previous times should be good enough, but she wasnt taking any chances. As it turned out, her diligence saved her life. She worked out hard all winter, running some but focusing on strengthening her complete body. She looked physically fit and determined to accomplish her goals. We would run together and looked forward to the coming season. I was in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in West Africa when my wife called and told me that Grace had a lump show up on her leg. As I prayed the Lord told me that our Grace had cancer and I was devastated. He said, Its time to lay Isaac on the altar. I was stunned as I remembered the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 24 and remembered His word to me 12 years earlier, Ive given you an Isaac. I began to understand, I did have an Issac. I gave my daughter back into His hands that day in Africa far away from home and my loved ones. And wept, not even remembering that Abraham received Isaac back. I only felt death. The doctors said that Grace had a tumor growing on her neuro-vascular bundle in her right thigh. The new muscles she had developed while working out had forced the tumor out of hiding to the surface. This caused it to be found and removed before it invaded her vein and artery and spread the cancer cells throughout her body. Her diligence in training had saved her life. At first the doctors didnt know if they could even save her leg. And then they didnt know if she would ever walk again. They said shed never run again. But I just wanted my little girl to live. And I left her on His altar The Lord gave Grace back to us just as He gave Isaac back to Abraham and we still have her today, 17 years later. The Lord never said He was giving me a son but in my youthful exuberance I assumed that that was what He meant when He said, Ive given you an Isaac. He was just being Faithful to prepare us for this trial. Im glad I was wrong... My Isaac, Grace Elizabeth!