….you did not withhold from me your own beloved son. ~ Genesis 22:12
I was not Abraham two days ago. While I had not withheld my son from the trial he faced because that was simply beyond my power, my response to what had unfolded certainly constituted a withholding.
Willful and calculated.
Today, I come to the First Reading and God tells me, Long before you were faced with the faith-response to offer up your child, Abraham was, and he chose to break his own heart if it meant choosing to love his God.
Abraham didn’t try to strike a win-win deal with God. Neither did he marshal an array of arguments to his favour. In simple obedience, Abraham chose to love God – despite what it would ask of him.
Faced with an Abraham moment – of a far smaller scale – despite all my resolutions, I had chosen to love myself. I wish I could say that I was ashamed or sad or angry with myself, but I wasn’t. I knew I had sinned but even now, I wasn’t sure I would choose Abraham’s Way the next time.
Then, came the clincher:
He who did not spare His own Son
but handed Him over for us all.. ~ Romans 8:32
There will be another race today. My child faces yet another test. And so do I. In some ways, today’s race will be harder. I fear for my son. I fear the crushing. I fear the tears. I fear myself.
He who did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all.
Then, in a strange fluid easiness, I surrender my child to God. I give Him the race and all that would follow. I feel sick to my stomach but I ask for the strength to suffer that small cross. No bargains, no wheedling. I don’t feel heroic, neither am I pretending to be Abraham.
It just feels like the thing that has to be done.
I will not withhold my son from God.