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  • Writer's pictureErika Tate

Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable


The Old Testament reading this week is the well-known story of “the binding of Isaac.” Abraham has been told by God to bring his only beloved son, Isaac, up a mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. There have been quite a few ways to interpret this passage of scripture. Two of the most common explanations are to show how Abraham is a model of complete trust or that the Abraham and Isaac relationship is a prototype for God and Jesus when it comes time for God to offer Jesus as a sacrifice. But to be very honest, those explanations never gave me peace. This story has always made me feel uncomfortable and ponder God’s actions.

 

Questions immediately spring to my mind during the passage are, why would God ask something so horrific of Abraham? How could Abraham attempt to perform the vile act to his own child? Did Isaac have trust issues towards his father the rest of his life after they came back down the mountain? Where was Sarah, Abraham’s wife and Isaac’s mother?  Lastly, what does it mean to have a God who would ask something like that of God’s believers? We don’t have the answers to many of these questions. And sometimes our explanations just lead to more questions. To be put bluntly, this passage of scripture forces us to do what we should do every time we read from the Bible–makes us stop, think, and dig deeper.  

 

In general, when we read scripture we are meant to be changed by it. And in order to be changed it is good to sit and wrestle with scripture, especially when it isn’t easy. There are some passages that will always test us (the story of Dinah in Genesis 34 comes to mind). I want scripture to be easy, but that is simply not the kind of scriptures we are offered. God creates our consciousness to examine and explore. By asking more questions we aren’t abandoning our trust in God but allowing ourselves to be tested further. We are expanding our notions and experiences with God while sitting with the uncomfortable stories of our faith. As we move further during the season of lent we should allow ourselves to sit with the uncomfortable and know it is good to put energy into our questions. 

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