2nd Sunday of Lent
Here I am! (Genesis 22:1)
Abraham must have felt trapped. He had already given up so much to follow the Lord, and God had blessed him richly. So logic would tell him that he would be blessed if he obeyed the Lord this time. But this was the hardest thing God could possibly ask of him: to kill his son with a knife and burn his corpse in ritual sacrifice. Could God really want that? But Abraham had already told God, “Here I am!” (Genesis 22:1). He had committed himself, and there was no backing out.
Try to imagine that three-day journey to the place of sacrifice. The silence, the awkward answers to Isaac’s questions, the agonizing over what he was about to do. How many times did Abraham almost turn around and head back home? But somehow, Abraham trusted that God would still fulfill his promises. So when he arrived at the place, Abraham told his servants, “We will . . . come back to you” (Genesis 22:4). Even then, he trusted that both he and Isaac would return.
Notice, when the angel intervenes, Abraham again repeats the only thing he had said to God so far: “Here I am” (Genesis 22:11). These words must have sounded much different now, three harrowing days later, as he was on the verge of doing the unthinkable to his son. Imagine the fear, the exhaustion, even the anger, in his voice. Yet even now, as his grip on his faith was fragile at best, he held on and trusted.
We all have times when God seems to be asking the impossible of us: to accept a terminal illness or permanent disability; to resolve a bitter, long-standing conflict; to give up on a treasured dream. Abraham’s response, “Here I am,” may feel like the hardest thing to say. But this story tells us that God still loves us and is still offering us his grace.
So if it feels like you’re barely hanging onto your faith, remember Abraham. Remember that God is still with you. And even if the unthinkable occurs, repeat what Abraham said to God: “Here I am” (Genesis 22:1, 11).
“Here I am, Father. I trust that you will never abandon me.”
Psalm 116:10, 15-19
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