Abraham had no plan. He had no idea how he would actually accomplish what God had asked, neither did he want to think about it. Not that any amount of thinking could prepare him for what he was about to do. He simply put one foot in front of the other, the way he had […]
“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love … . Abraham’s heart had dropped to the pit of his stomach. He could feel the sweat cold on his temples, as he thought, “Lord, could this please not be a hard request, another stretching, another move beyond my comfort zone?” He had wanted to cover his ears, but he could not cover God’s mouth, and God had continued as if he had not known Abraham’s desperate thoughts, as if it did not matter.
Hagar had always been carried along by the current of other people’s lives. In Egypt she had been sold as a slave to the highest bidder. Abraham bought her and Sarah took her as her personal servant. They had brought her to Canaan, and then quite unexpectedly, her own body, her womb, had been called into service.
In the harem, Sarah waited. She waited to be called in to King Abimelech, or for someone — Abraham, God? — to come to her rescue. One day dragged into the next, and still nothing. God had said she and Abraham would have a child next year. Now Abraham had ruined everything. But why hadn’t God stopped him?
God promised Abraham and Sarah the impossible. Or perhaps more accurately, he waited so long that the fulfillment of promise became impossible. The years passed and he watched them replay his words, hoping and afraid to hope. He saw the tears and felt their emptiness as they watched each other grow old. He knew the […]