Categories
Emunah

Emunah Ep 4: There’s No Place Called Home

When I finally looked at him, I saw the relief pour across his face. I smiled inside for a brief second, and then I steeled myself for the utter chaos that was to come, the heartbreaking disappointment he would face right before he left this earth.

As I dragged him up, I saw the look of confusion on his face.

As I bound his hands, I felt him resist internally. I felt him collapse emotionally. But I never felt him try to resist physically. I taught him well. Maybe too well. Resist, son! Make this harder for me! I need you to make me have to do it! Are you not a man? Do you not realize that you are the lamb? Resist! Fight to live! Fight for your right to breathe! Why won’t you resist!

It was when I carried him and laid him on the altar that the shock of it all finally crushed him. I could see it in his face that he knew he was about to die. He was bound like a ram and laid down like a future carcass. He knew his fate was sealed. I cannot tell you how much that broke me. I cannot explain just how defeating that sight was for me. I cannot begin to describe how much of my insides had turned right into pudding, how much I wished to God this wasn’t happening. The only thing worse than watching your son go through agony because of you is knowing that he may never understand that you went through even more agony to put him through his agony.

When you step on a worm, it first wriggles like crazy. When you step on it again, it keeps wriggling, but not as vigorously as before. By the time you step on it a third time, it has barely any wriggle left. I guess it accepts that there’s no living left for it to do and even if it survived, its life would have no meaning. When I got the knife, Isaac’s eyes expanded into massive orbs. That was the first wriggle. When he saw it go up, his eyes looked like they were sinking into their sockets. That was the second wriggle. His eyes immediately shut when the knife stopped ascending. That was the third wriggle, the lifeless one. He couldn’t stop what was about to happen, but he didn’t want to see himself die.

*****

I saw this sword of a knife go up, and it loomed larger and larger with each rise. Father’s hands went up very slowly, like he was conserving all his energy for the swift descent that would end it all. I saw that knife, and all I could think about was how mother called me Miracle whenever she didn’t want to call me Isaac. How she kept talking about the angels she refused to believe when they said she would have me. How she and father waited so long for me, and how that should teach me to be patient with God. The memories crossed my eyes like racecars, the jokes and the scoldings flooded my mind, and I was certain that she would never forgive father for this, even if it was because God told him to. Her son was bound and laid on an altar like a lamb, then murdered by her husband, and then burned as a sacrifice to God. I’m not sure even God would be forgiven for this.

My head was pounding, my entire body was pulsing, my armpits were sweaty, my wrists were numb because the rope was so tight, my legs felt like two big, lifeless logs, and my voice was no longer operational. When the knife reached its peak and hung over me like a guillotine, I closed my eyes. Moments passed, then minutes passed, and then I wondered whether I had died without knowing it. My eyes were still working. I’ve seen dead people before. Their eyes never work. Somehow, mine still work. Was I dead or not dead?

I opened one eye, very slowly, and the sunlight that met it immediately made it unstable.

But wait, if my eye saw sunlight, I must not be dead. I opened the other eye, and after a few moments, I wasn’t blinking anymore. It took me a few more seconds to realize that all my limbs were intact, and I was alone. I was so scared that I didn’t even hear father’s footsteps when he left. What does any of that matter? I am alive! I didn’t die!

But if I didn’t die, then what’s the sacrifice?

BAAAAAAAHHH!

*****

I was ready to strike.

I had finally come to the place where I was okay with killing my son. I prayed that the Lord would find this sacrifice worthy, and that He would send me another.

I was ready to strike.

My hands started descending. And then…

“Abraham!”

My hands kept descending.

 Abraham!”

My hands froze. Midway through the stab of death, a familiar voice had stopped me. Was this torture not enough? Was I going to have to repeat this whole process? A man can only be pushed so far!

“Here I am.”

“Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

This was a test? This whole time, God was testing me? I know God does some extremely unbelievable things, but this?

WHAT THE ACTUAL-

BAAAAAH!

I looked up, and right there in the thicket was a ram. Here’s the problem with that: rams NEVER come up here. There’s no grass, the bushes are thorny, it is the worst place for a ram to graze. Also, rams just don’t climb this high for food. And I am highly certain that I didn’t bring a ram. So how did it get up here?

“The Lord will provide.”

That’s what I told Isaac when he asked about the animal for the sacrifice, wasn’t it?

God was never going to depart from his nature. God never accepts human sacrifice. God never takes back the gifts He gives to anyone.

God was never going to let me kill Isaac.

Still in utter confusion, I went to the thicket, untied the ram and brought it back with me. And this ram was the opposite of Isaac. It fought and clawed and resisted every way it could.

BAAAAAH!! BAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

BAAAAH!

*****

This was one altar I was never going to take down.

I took a very shaken Isaac off the altar and untied him. I then tied the ram, laid it on the altar, and wasted no time ending its life. Then I set it on fire, and then I worshipped God for rescuing my son from death. I thanked Him for the ram.

Oh, how I thanked Him for that ram.

And then the Voice spoke up one more time.

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

He was keeping his promise, and He was giving me even more! This was not for nothing! He wanted to give me more, but He wanted to trust me with more!

Right now, in this moment, that promise more than compensates me for all the tribulation I just put my son through. I’m naming this place The Lord Will Provide. I’m going to mark it so that no one ever forgets that on this mountain, the Lord provided for me. This name will remain until the end of time.

*****

I could still smell the burning ram while Isaac and I went back down. We didn’t have anything to carry, so it was just us. I didn’t know what to say to him. Who would? What do you tell your son after something like that? “God wanted you dead but not really. Oops?” I was still getting over the fact that God really went as far as making me think I was going to kill my son just so He could know whether I valued Him more than I valued the son He gave me. Yes, I was in pain, yes, I was in turmoil, but I know for sure that Isaac would be dead if God hadn’t stopped me. But did He really need to put us through this just to prove that?

I know for sure that Isaac will one day tell his mother what happened today, and I don’t know if I have it in me to face her once she knows. Sarah is a very calm, very loving woman, but she’s also very fierce and she’s not one anyone wants to go up against. How do I explain to her that I went to sacrifice Isaac because God said so, but in the end, He didn’t want Isaac’s blood? She understands sacrifice, she understands God asking for a sacrifice, but God rejecting the sacrifice He asked for even before it’s been offered?

We’re at the foot of the mountain now. The servants think we’re going home.

One of the stops we have to make on our way back is in a town called Beersheba. I could stay there. I could just stay there until I figure something out and time passes.

I can’t go home. Not yet. Not for a while.

I may never see my Sarah ever again.

Well, that was a trip back in time, wasn’t it? Seeing things through the eyes and minds of Abraham and Isaac. Quite an intense experience. If you were ever like me, thinking Abraham wasn’t moved by that command, this will prove you wrong. Obeying God was not the least bit easy, but it was worth it for the father of faith. Thanks to Makafui for this journey he took us on!!

Categories
Emunah

Emunah Ep 3: Father?!

It’s been two days.

These have been two of the longest days of my life.

For two days, I have not been able to look at my son.

On the first day, we went much faster than we should’ve simply because I would not stop moving. The servants spoke and Isaac spoke, but it was only when the ass started to rebel that I realized that we needed to stop. We’d travelled a day and a half and the only times we stopped were for water. I expected Isaac to come to my makeshift tent and bother me with all kinds of questions about the desert. You know, teenager questions.

“How is it that God chose for nothing to grow here except cactus?”

Strangely enough, after he asked where we were going, he said nothing more for the rest of the journey. When we found a place to rest, he immediately set about helping the servants to build a fire and set up shelters for the night. Not one question from him to me, not one word from him to anybody. He just went about his business. I wonder if it’s because he noticed that I haven’t looked at him since we left home.

One of the servants brought me a small rock I could lay my head on, and a mat to lay on the floor. As he left, I noticed Isaac sitting in front of his shelter. The other servant was chattering about elk and how he needed to groom the mules when we got back; his voice was that loud. Isaac just sat and nodded his head appropriately like he was listening, but I knew he was far away from this room. I saw it, but what could I do about it? I’m his father, not his closest friend. The boy has to learn to resolve whatever bothers him on his own, like any man would.

Who am I kidding? I know why he’s acting this way. I know why, but I cannot tell him what he needs to know. Not just yet.

I cannot tell him that I have to return him to his true owner.

*****

Morning came, but it could not have made less of a difference to me. I turned in early, woke up to every hissing of the wind, and tried everything not to be anxious. I don’t know what my father knows, and it makes no sense to be worried about it.

Yet worried is all I’ve been since yesterday.

By the time the servants knew it, I had packed up pretty much everything. Again, father would not let us load anything onto the animals, preferring to do this alone and in solitude. He also continued not to look at me, but I guess I just have to live with it until he finally does. Anyway, as soon as he was done, we got to moving again. This was day three. I have no idea where Moriah is, but judging by how quickly father’s moving, it must be a good distance away.

*****

I know that the sacrifice will happen today. I know this because I know that we will get to Moriah today. I know that because I know that Moriah is about a day and a half away by mule, so it must be twice as long on foot. I also know that there’s a certain point at which I’m going to have to start acting normal, otherwise Isaac might start asking questions I have no idea how to answer. At this point, I’m even questioning if that’s a good idea, because if I go back to normal, he will be even more confused. Nonetheless, I am still his father and I have to be the one to cure the anxiety.

We are almost at Moriah. I am not sure how best to explain this, but as I look at it, I can see a mark, a signal of some kind hovering over a very specific spot. I can see the path to this place, and I know what must be done.

I know that it is time.

*****

So, we were moving, and everything was looking normal, and then we just stopped. I was burning to ask if we’d arrived, but father was looking ahead at a mountain range. For a minute, we all just stood there in the dust and heat, and no one said a word. And then the next thing I knew, my shoulder was loaded with the logs we brought, and my father was holding this knife that looked bigger than it really was in my eyes. He took a pot from the load on the ass, the first time I’d even seen the pot since I woke up three days ago. I didn’t even know he’d brought a pot. He filled it with coals, made a fire, and then came back to stand in front of us. He still hadn’t looked at me yet, but he did look at the servants, and his next words had a taste of pain like I’d never known.

“Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

We left them and eventually got to this point where it looked like the path was leading upward, but in a way so gentle that it wasn’t even noticeable. I knew it wasn’t going to be long before we got to the destination, and was still not sure what this sacrifice had to do with me or why father refused to look at me. That I was anxious about his refusal to look at me was confusing in itself, but if he was going to kill some poor animal because of something I did or didn’t do, I needed to know this. I needed to know so I wouldn’t repeat the error. But I knew I wasn’t going to get that answer, because I would have had that info on the very first day if he wanted me to. I did know, however, that sacrifices can’t work without an animal; blood was necessary. So, let me at least have that question answered.

“Father?”

“Yes, my son?”

“The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

The classic answer non-answer. Help me, Lord.

*****

We got pretty high up, very close to the ridgeline of the mountain, and then we stopped. Father took the logs off my shoulder and asked me to sit on some rock. I tried to help but he had that stern “get out of my way” look on his face, so I did what he said. He still hadn’t looked at me yet, but I was much easier about that. After he said God will provide, I figured that God must have asked him not to bring an animal. This is probably one of those random instructions he gets from God that make no sense at the start. If that’s the case, then this has nothing to do with me at all. Maybe he brought me along just for me to witness how this works.

Maybe God will deal with me in the same manner, and father just wants me to see it firsthand so that I’m ready when it’s my turn. Maybe I’ve been anxious about him not looking at me for absolutely no reason. Then again, can you blame a child for not adulting? If your father sat with you in the same location, and never looked at you even when he was talking to you, you’d be waiting for the list of charges and offences and a court date with him. Mine didn’t look at me for three whole days! Anyway, I probably let anxiety get the best of me and make me paranoid. So, I’m relaxed about it for now. At some point, he’ll explain himself. Or at the end of this, I’ll see why he acted the way he did. He’s finished building the altar now, and he’s done arranging the wood on it. Now, all we need is-

Wait a minute. He’s looking at me! Finally! Yes!!

Hold on. He’s looking at me. There’s a rope in his hand I never saw before, and he’s looking at me. He’s walking towards me now. There’s a rope in his hand I never saw before, and he’s looking at me, and he looks like he’s holding back tears, and he’s now standing in front of me. Why is he just looking at me? All I wanted these last few days was for him to look at me, and now all I want is for him to get away from me. Did he just drag me up? Why is he tying my hands? What is… oh no!

Oh no! Oh my God, no!

God was supposed to provide the lamb! He said God would provide the lamb! He said God never accepts human sacrifice!

Father, what are you doing? I am your son! You cannot kill me! Father! Father!

Oh my God, he’s laying me on the altar now. He’s over a hundred years old! How is he so strong? Father! Father!!

FATHER?!!

(It probably helps to remember the first thing I told you in the beginning: no son defies their father in my time, not even at the point of death. I could not resist the man because the man is never to be resisted.)

Categories
Emunah

Emunah Ep 2: Let’s Talk About Trust, Shall We?

 “Isaac! Come yonder! The mountaintop is calling! Come, let’s jump together! One! Two! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH…”

OUCH!

“Son, get up.”

“Father, tis earlier than the normal time we go out into the field. Is something awry?”

“No, son. Nothing is awry, but something is afoot, and we must go early.”

“Yes father. If the hour is to be a reference, I surmise that a sacrifice must be made.”

“You have assumed correctly, son. The word of the Lord came to me, and a sacrifice shall be made this day.”

“Shall I wake the shepherds?”

“What for?”

“To choose the animal for the sacrifice. I assume that the Lord desires a very specific animal with very specific attributes. The shepherds are best suited to pick the animal, are they not?”

“Not this time, son. Indeed, the Lord gave very specific instructions concerning the sacrifice, but we will not need the shepherd. Now, arise. We are going with two of the servants.”

“Yes, father.”

*****

So, here’s the thing: I really don’t want to go with father to make this sacrifice. It has nothing to do with the sacrifice itself; I’ve seen enough of them not to be squeamish about them. It’s not about the hour, although I’d much rather continue to get my beauty rest. It’s not even about the fact that dad woke me up from this very dramatic dream I was having inasmuch as I really wanted to see how it would end. (I know that the other person jumped off the mountain, I don’t know if I was dumb enough to follow. That scream was not mine, people.)

It’s about the whole thing.

Father Abraham, son of Terah, was never one to explain any of his actions to me. He’d usually say something, then maybe answer the first question I had, and then I’d have to find out the rest as we go. He’s the kind of dad that would tell me to do the most insane thing, only for the most insane thing to turn out to be the most awesome thing ever. Mum told me about a day when he just packed everyone up and just moved them all, and he didn’t even know where he was moving them to! You really have to trust a guy an awful lot to leave a stable place without knowing where you’re headed. But I digress. The point is, this man never goes past question 1a on any quiz I give him when he gives me an instruction. And then today he answers every question I have without complaint?

Something is very, very wrong with this picture.

*****

                Okay, so here’s what our living arrangements looked like at the time: Father’s tent was in the middle of the camp. Mother’s tent was right next to it. That’s where I used to sleep until I was old enough to have my own tent, which was close to where the servants lived. Father and mother didn’t regularly sleep in the same tent. They only shared the same tent when mother went in to father’s tent to care for him when he fell ill, or when father went in to mother’s tent to know her. There were other reasons, but these were the two big ones. The servants stayed far enough from father’s tent to allow privacy, but close enough for him to reach them whenever he needed them. The men and women did not share tents. The women’s tents were surrounded on the outside by the men’s tents. The idea here was that in the event of any attack, the menservants would be able to protect the women while giving them time to flee to safety. The stables were on the outskirts of the camp in a large pasture area. The animals we killed to eat were left to graze in the open air, while the ones we needed for labour were kept in the stables.

It’s still dark outside, but there’s evidence that sunrise is almost here. Father and the two servants were already at the stables when I got there. I figured father would want to saddle an ass, so I went to help. When I got there, I saw another unusual sight: the servants were just standing about. Now, for the sake of context, let me point out that even though I am a son, my rank is still the same as that of a servant. The only thing that’s different about me is my future; I will run all of this one day. Anyway, there was this banging sound like someone was cutting wood behind the stables. I went around to look and saw father cutting the wood as though each log had insulted his father. When you see a man who is well past a hundred years old laying an axe to a log like he’s fifteen years old, you know that peace is not with him in any possible way. I tried to help him, but he simply refused. Try as I did, he would not let me help him. He wouldn’t even let me load up the donkey for him.

“I do not think I have ever seen Master Abraham like this before. He refuses to let us be servants this day, choosing to cut his own wood and load up his own donkey. Tis as though he fears to err before he makes this sacrifice.”

“No, tis as though he desires that the materials for the sacrifice be perfect, in like manner as a man does when the sacrifice is a thing dear to his heart and precious in his sight.”

“Fearest he that his favorite animal is the one the Lord had chosen?”

“Has he even a favorite animal?”

“Shh, here comes he.”

Servants stay gossips and these ones are no different! But in all their chattering, they made one good point. The way father is acting is the way someone acts when their sacrifice is so precious to them that they don’t want to make even the smallest mistake lest God hits them. What could possibly be the sacrifice? He’s loaded up the donkey with wood and he has a knife, but what exactly are we going to offer?

*****

“Alright. You all know what to do. Isaac, you will be with me in front. The Lord has gone ahead of us and is ready for us, so let’s go meet him.”

And with that, we left home. I didn’t get to see mother before we left, and I wasn’t even sure that if I’d seen her, she’d be able to tell me why father was acting strange. While the servants kept their discussion going, father just walked in silence. I was a couple of steps behind him, caught up in my own thoughts. I replayed the dawn in my head over and over. He came in, woke me up, answered my every question. I went to the stables, he refused my help and any other help, he loaded up his own donkey. There was no rush, there was no tension, he just wasn’t talking. I played it again. Wake up. Stables. No help. Wake up. Stables. No help. Wake up. Stables. No help. Wake up. Stables. No help. Wake up. Stables. No… Wait a minute. That’s not normal. Throughout the whole thing, from the waking up to the right now, he has looked at everyone as he spoke to them. He has looked at the servants, he has looked at the wood, he has even looked at the ass as he loaded it. He has looked at everybody.

Everybody except me.

Is the sacrifice because of me? Does it have something to do with me? Am I the reason he’s been so alarmingly different? Did I sin somewhere along the line without knowing? No, that can’t be. If he was making the sacrifice because of my sin, he would need a specific animal. Only blood can be used for this kind of atonement, he taught me that. He can’t possibly think that there’s going to be an animal at the altar just ready for him to kill and offer up. That’s not impossible, but it is downright crazy. Who sacrifices a wild animal? But why hasn’t he looked at me? Why isn’t he looking at me now? What did I do?

Am I reading too much into this? Clearly he’s got a lot on his mind, and he probably didn’t do it on purpose. But I’ve gone over every detail of this and I’m sure I’m not crazy; he’s not looking at me. Okay, let’s test the theory and see.

“Dad, where exactly are we going?”

“Moriah.”

“I’m sorry?”

“We’re going to Moriah, son.”

He answered the question. He answered the follow-up. He didn’t look at me.

He just kept moving forward. He didn’t look back even once. I stopped to ask those questions, but he kept moving while he answered, like a man in a trance!

This definitely has something to do with me, right? Who doesn’t look back to answer someone who’s speaking to them from behind? Am I being paranoid? Do I just assume that this is one of his crazy things which ends up being awesome? Was that dream just a dream or a warning? Am I really jumping off a mountain today?

What am I trusting right now?

Categories
Emunah

Emunah Ep 1: Faith Is…

“Abraham!”

“Here am I.”

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall tell you.”

****

This is why I can’t sleep.

I am not a man that is prone to moments of panic. I understand authority, I understand God’s authority, and I know enough to know that what God wants is what God wants.

But this one? This particular ask?

Let me point out something you may not know. Human sacrifice wasn’t uncommon in my day. The blood of humans has always been a premium commodity in a lot of spiritual actions, so it’s not unusual to hear of firstborns getting placed on altars.

The thing that wasn’t common about the request was that this God was the one making it.

This God has always been more of an animal sacrifice kind of God. You know, sheep, doves, other specific ones depending on His taste. He’s usually highly particular about the animal for the sacrifice, and very detailed on all the specifics. Believe it or not, he cares about the age, the size, even the hair color of the animal. Yes, God does see color. He made it all, after all.

But a human sacrifice? And this particular human being sacrificed?

Listen, spanking a child is hard enough, not to talk of KILLING one! But this hurt for an even bigger reason. This hurt because this was my legacy, this was my promise, this was my impossible! How am I losing my promise to the one who gave it in the first place? How much more do I need to prove!

How do I even tell his mother?

*****

“Abe, what ails you?”

I was in my tent, laying on the mat that was my only separator from the cold dirt floor, when Sarah came in. Sarah was one of those women who never screamed, but always got the point across.

“Nothing, Sarah. I just cannot sleep.”

“Did something happen? Are the servants of Abimelech giving you problems again?”

“No, woman, this is not about them.” I did not know it, but I had just pinned myself with that statement.

“What is not about them, my husband?” Yeah, that was a rookie mistake.

“Sarah, I just can’t sleep. Go back to your tent with your son.” At this point, the cold air of the desert was blowing in, and the thick goat hair that was my blanket was starting to fail at keeping me warm. “Do not worry about me, Sarah. I am well.”

A definitely unconvinced Sarah proceeded to come lie by me under the blanket that barely covered me, and she said, “Abraham, something is bothering you. While you may choose to keep it from me, you cannot deny me the chance to care for you.” And with that, she lay right by me and made it clear that she was going nowhere tonight.

As I lay there a few hours later, listening to her soft breath even as I felt it on my chest, I looked at her. Sarah. Mother of my child. You have no idea how crazy that sounded, how impossible that should have been. You have to understand, it’s not a natural occurrence, giving birth at 90 years old. Why do you think she made me sleep with the maid? Even she didn’t believe it when the angels told her she would bear a child, but here we are. And now I’m supposed to throw all that away?

I gently called her name, “Sarah.”

No response. “Sarah.”

Maybe it’s for the best that she’s asleep now, because God knows she would flip if she knew. If you think she will accept it just because God said it, please try telling any 90-year-old woman who just got pregnant after decades of trying that God wants her to abort the baby. See how well that works for you. And that’s in your generation, where guns and knives and hands abound. Even sandals are lethal in your day. I am in a real predicament, and the crazy thing is that I’m not as worried about the guy I have to sacrifice as I am about his mother.

“Did you call me, my lord?”

I genuinely thought she was asleep. “No, Sarah. Go back to sleep.”

“What is it, Abraham?”

I don’t know what, but something about how she said that made me want to open up. She’s my wife, after all, and after the crazy things we’ve been through…

“Sarah, I think… I talked to… The Lord called me late last night, before I came home.”

I fully expected her to sit up, but she just gave me an “Uh huh…” She wasn’t as interested as I thought she would be. “The Lord wants me to uh, He wants me to sacrifice…” Oh, help me Lord. You’re the one who said this, please let her accept it. “The Lord asked me to sacrifice our son in the morning.”

 Nothing.

Oh dear, that is not a good sign. She can’t do anything about it and she knows, so she’s keeping her anger to herself. Or she’s processing what I said. Or maybe-

 *Snore.*

 You cannot be serious. I mustered up all that courage, went through all that turmoil, and all that sounded like a lullaby? I would not be wrong to wake her up and just finish her. Your husband is talking to you, and you proceed to sleep? I was about to turn away and will myself to sleep on this floor when I felt movement. Oh Lord, maybe she heard me?

Sarah didn’t sit up, but she did inch closer to me. She’d rolled a bit off my body while she slept. “My lord. Sorry, I was overcome with sleep. What was it you wanted to say?”

I wanted to shake my head, but I’m a bigger man than that. “Sarah, is there anything God would ask of you that you would decline?”

Silence. Then, “Do I have the option to decline?”

“Does one need an option to decline the Lord’s instructions?”

“Yeah, unless one has every intention of being smitten.”

“Well, I guess…”

“Abraham. What did the Lord ask you to do?”

“Sarah, believe me, tis for the best that you do not know.”

“Abraham-“

“Sarah, believe me.”

Silence. Well, this is going great so far. If the question didn’t startle her, my last response definitely did. Sarah may be a great companion, but she certainly knows how to get me to respond how she wants. Now would be a good time for sleep to hit me as hard as it can.

“Well, I remember that we came to this land without knowing what it was or where it was. You were led directly by God, who said ‘Go to the land I will show you.’ I also know that the Lord promised me Isaac, and I have him now. Would I defy him because He spoke something I could not comprehend? Not one of the Lord’s instructions to us thus far have been comprehensible. So, I suppose I would believe that He knows the end from the beginning, and it will all make sense in time. Faith in God has to be its own evidence, as does His history with us thus far.”

****

Nothing was said after that. Sarah slept at my side, and I just lay there thinking. There was no way I was going to say no to God. I just couldn’t come to terms with His ask, even if it was less “I’m asking you to” and more “I’m telling you to.” Sacrifice my legacy? Sacrifice my only son? Sacrifice my promise?

My promise. The promise that was made to me. The promise God Himself fulfilled. Now I see it. None of this has anything to do with me. God was the one who made the covenant, God is the one who has to see it through. I am just the guy who He chose to partner with on earth. So if He sees fit to take Isaac away, surely He has to have another way to fulfill his promise. I really hope that at some point, He tells me not to go through with this, but if He doesn’t, then this blood’s not on my hands. I pray for you, Isaac. I pray you survive this. For the sake of my love for you, I pray you do.

It’s dawn. It’s very close to morning. Sarah’s warmth can no longer be my respite, and her breath no longer soothes me. Even as I get up off the mat quietly, I know that whatever she and I have will forever be changed after this day. But, the Lord has asked. Who am I to say no?

Who am I to deny the Lord my God anything, even the life of my promised son?

Categories
Emunah

Emunah Intro: Why?

It’s been so long, but the break is over now!! So many cobwebs around here… looool. Well, your man has been tied down with academics, and now that he’s sorta done, it’s time to get back to the State!

So before we prepare to say farewell to our beloved Dolphyne family later on this month (yeah, I know it sucks, but all good things, minus eternal life, must come to an end), here’s an opener. Makafui is back, and he’s got quite a retelling for us. Based on a Bible story we all know so very well. Enjoy!!

It’s dawn.

I don’t have a clock to prove it, but it’s dawn. It looks very dark outside, but sun rays always creep in before they streak the room, and I’m a master at catching them as they creep.

It shouldn’t be dawn. Day doesn’t need to rush in like this. Not this day. Especially not this day. I tried to sleep. My bride tried to make me sleep. Granted, her tired self couldn’t actually do anything to put me to bed, but her efforts usually inspire change.

Today’s different.

Today’s troubling.

Today’s where we find out a heck of a lot starting with the question, “What kind of man are you?”

Today’s the day where I choose between my promise and my Provider.

Today’s when I sacrifice my only son.

****

I know I’m extra.

Let me rephrase that: I know you THINK I’m extra.

Not extra as in excessive or bratty or anything like that. More like you think I’m really weak or excessively submissive.

Most of you know that I was a child when it happened, so you imagine that I was like five or six or even a baby. The smart ones among you probably found out that I was actually about seventeen. You may be right, you may be wrong, but surely you can’t be far off. And if you’re not far off, then your next question’s probably something like, “WHAT TEENAGER DOESN’T STAND UP FOR HIMSELF WHEN HIS FATHER TRIES SOMETHING LIKE THIS?”

It’s a fair question, maybe even a good one.

You may even get cocky enough to follow that with, “IF MY FATHER TRIED SOMETHING LIKE THAT, I WOULD FIGHT HIM!” Or it’s distant cousin, “I WILL CALL THE POLICE!”

But before we proceed, allow me to ask you something.

You know how you all have this inherent desire to, uh, PLEASE, your fathers? How you all have this need to not defy your dad even if he looks like a lunatic, and you will only traverse that need once you’re sure he really is a lunatic?

You don’t even want to obey him half the time, but you typically don’t want to defy him.

In your case, it’s because you fear that roast or maybe that butt-whooping that follows when you say no for ego reasons. In my case, it’s a little bit trickier than that. You see, we don’t fear fathers around here.

We REVERE them.

In these times, your father’s name is literally your ticket. You’re only as valuable as your father’s opinion of you, and people treat you differently based on who your father is. First, we depend on our dads for food and covering, then we help them get the food and covering. Even with all that, they could decide not to leave us any part of the family business when they’re no more. Also, and this is key, the blessings or curses they speak over us will follow us until we die. They usually make these pronouncements based on what we did or didn’t do for them before they passed. Your whole life is decided by how your father feels about you on one day, and he doesn’t get to take back what he says.

Keep in mind that grace wasn’t a thing yet, and mothers had to resort to extraordinary measures to get any mercy for their kids. So, your mum really couldn’t do much for you if you went against your dad for any reason. This is not the 21st Century. This is not 2000 A.D. This is as B.C. as B.C. gets. Going against your dad is only topped by going against God on the list of no-nos for kids.

Now that you know all of that, are you sure you would still fight that man if you were in my shoes in this time period?

You’re what’s going to happen after me and mine improve upon my father’s methods, and then my kids improve upon my methods, and on and on until Israel’s kings and Rome’s emperors, and world wars and car seat laws, and then social media. (Somewhere in there will be Paul the Apostle, who will try to help by saying, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger.” Be advised, that part of the text will forever be skipped until you become a parent. If you have the memory of a fly, you’ll skip it too.)

By now, either you know who I am or you’re mad confused and losing your bearings. Let me help you out a little bit. You know how people talk about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? We’re those guys. At least, we’re two of them; Jacob’s another subject. (I haven’t even known his mother yet, and I don’t mean that in a friendly manner.) Anyway, the point is, these are not the times in which sons get to talk back to their fathers, even if they mean absolutely no harm, which is most often the case. So no, I wasn’t weak or excessively submissive, and I certainly wasn’t a robot who just took orders.

I was simply the son of a very crazy man in a very wild time.

Interesting intro. Now we get into the deep end of this familiar tale from the first episode!