"Father Abraham had many sons! Many sons had Father Abraham!
I am one of them and so are you! So let's just Praise the Lord!
Right arm! Left Arm! Right. . ."
I hear the children yell-singing along with me as we act out the motions
to the simple melody. The intricacies of Galatians and Romans, the
covenants of circumcision and grace, and the fulfillment of both law and
promise the furthest things from our minds. We are hyper and alive in
Children's Church today, delirious with an environment that allows us to
shout the joy of being God's Chosen while marching in place like tiny,
"I AM ONE OF THEM AND SO ARE YOU! SO LET'S JUST PRAISE THE LORD!"
The truth that I can be a child of the blessing, one of the counted stars of the uncountable galaxy, a cherished grain of sand in the endless beaches of God's grace, comforts me often when I doubt my identity and position in Christ and His world. I probably should do a crazy little dance with my friends more often as we project our voices triumphantly, spinning around in amazement.
Yet sometimes I feel like old Father Abraham himself. . .
I pack up and leave the confines of the familiar, walking in lands not my home. . .
I cozy up to my bride participating in the sacred, intimate act, struggling to trust against common wisdom that the Lord's Word remains solid. . .
I saddle up the donkey headed to a mountain where my greatest fears wait for me. . .
What faith! How awesome! The Lord provides! So let's just praise the Lord!
But I also watch my servant work and see not just a female but a contingency plan, a way for me to bring about the Lord's wishes in my own way, in my own time. . .
And I am not just Abraham's son, I am the son of Sarah, laughing when I get a glimpse of what the Lord's plans might be, sprinkling in some (un)holy sarcasm for my own enjoyment, and rolling my eyes when my husband of promise stares at me with the eyes of the young. . .
I am the twin of Isaac as well, tramping along dutifully, doing the math in my head, asking Father where the sacrifice might be, except I ask quite a few times more than young Ike, and wonder what bonds I would let my dad tie me with, and whether I would lie still on the altar as his sun-spotted hands raised the killing blade. . .
So let's just praise the Lord!
Just praise the Lord--as I walk in my schizophrenic faith, my multiple personalities of Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah keeping the silent donkey company as we walk, waves of trust crashing into walls of doubt, steps of obedience tripping as they tango with sexier options.
Did Abraham have white knuckles as he gripped the rope guiding his beast of burden and trust?
Did Sarah allow hope to peak through the clouds of cynicism when Abraham placed his head on her chest and murmured the creed of promise given decades before?
Did Isaac feel pride in his dad's unwavering gaze towards the mountain even as he naively followed with arms full of wood meant to be burned under his own body?
When we are asked to fully trust God, we are still fully human no matter how much we shout the praises of the Lord. He asks us to follow Him, not to cease being human, and most of the time the following slogs through swamps where both faith and doubt reside. Maybe fixing our eyes on Christ in those moments has nothing to do with sight but with the ability to remember Gethsemane, whispering not-my-will-but-yours prayers in the midst of cups full of anguish.
Or maybe we need to stop praying and thinking so much, put down our Bibles, power down the blogs and just start swinging right and left arms, and start stomping right and left feet, as we spin around screaming our defiant trust that we really are children of the Good Father. . .