Thursday, October 14, 2004

Father Abraham Had Many Flaws

I think Abraham may have been trying to help us out by lowering the bar so much. He lied, doubted, fornicated, laughed at God and pretty much stumbled his way into the 11th chapter of Hebrews.

But he kept going. That's one thing I've got to give the old geezer: he never stopped.

He picked up and left everything familiar. He kept trying to get his wife pregnant. He actually took his son, his only son, Isaac, whom he loved, up the mountain. He walked all that way -- that entire three-day journey -- and still had enough faith to figure that God would raise his son from the dead if it came down to it.

Mostly what Abraham says in Genesis 22 is, "Here I am." It's a simple statement, not meant to clarify his location as much as to share the condition of his heart. He says it in response to God at the beginning of the story. He says it in response to his son in the middle of the story. He says it to the Angel of the Lord at the end of the story: "Here I am."

I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. No running or hiding or evading. I'm ready for this. I've spent 30 years preparing for this. You tell me what to do, and I'll do it. I may or may not understand it, but I'll keep walking down this road until you tell me to stop.

Faith isn't some kind of doubt-free certainty. Sometimes faith is just tenaciously holding on and refusing to walk away.

In the end, Abraham realizes that he has nothing left to withhold from God. And nothing -- not his laughter, not his destiny, not even the promise of God -- can replace God himself. God himself, the presence of God, is more than enough. If I get nothing out of this covenant other than the opportunity to spend time with God, that's enough.

Father Abraham had many flaws; lack of faith wasn't one of them.