The day was hot and dusty. He had hoped it would be cooler in the mountains, but it seemed to get warmer with every step. "Maybe it’s because my heart feels so heavy."
A glance over his shoulder revealed Isaac struggling along with a pack slung over his shoulder. Sarah had insisted they bring a lunch. He wasn’t sure if he’d have the heart to eat it, but up ahead was a level place he remembered with a bit of shade.
He turned and waited until Isaac and the two servants reached him. “Up ahead we’ll stop for a rest.”
It was a relief to sit and to enjoy the slight shade afforded by the overhanging rock. He leaned back, sighed deeply, and raised his face to the sun. "Oh Lord, I know you’re there. I know that you’ve given me this task for a reason. It’s hard, Lord. It’s really hard. But Father, I know that you have a plan, and I know that you’ll reveal it to me, in your time, and in your place. Help me to accept your plan, and trust you."
“Father, look.” Isaac jumped up and pointed toward the north. “What is it father?”
Abraham shaded his eyes with his hands and squinted in the direction Isaac had pointed. “I believe it’s an eagle.”
Father and son stood together and watched the powerful bird. While they watched, it plummeted to earth, rising again with a small animal in its powerful talons.
“Father, the little animal will die.” There was a catch in Isaac’s throat.
“Yes, son, that’s true.” He placed his hand on Isaac’s shoulder. “It’s time to move on, son.”
They travelled for another day before Abraham saw the place where he needed to go. He paused on the trail, reluctant to go forward, dreading the ordeal but with a purpose in his heart to obey his God.
He turned to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; Isaac and I will go on alone.”
“Just the two of us, father?” Isaac’s eyes were bright.
“Yes, son, just the two of us. Come here, I need you to carry the wood for the offering on your back.” With a hand that trembled, he placed the wood in a comfortable position for Isaac. He carried the fire and the knife himself. Together they left the others behind and headed higher up the mountain.
No words were spoken for a space of time. Isaac was bent slightly under the weight of the wood. He lifted his eyes to Abraham. “Father, where’s the lamb for the offering? I’ve got the wood, and you’ve got the fire and knife, but we can’t have a burnt offering without a lamb.”
His trusting eyes bored into Abraham’s soul. "Oh Lord, how can I answer this child? I trust you completely, but it’s hard to look into his eyes." His throat was tight and his mouth dry, but he faced his son. “God will provide what we need.”
They walked on until they reached a spot that was level. “We’ll stop here and build our altar. Help me gather the stones.”
Isaac scurried off to find the best stones for his father. Slowly, but surely, the altar took shape as father and son piled the rocks on top of each other. “That’s enough now, son. I think it’s finished.”
From beneath his robe he took a narrow length of cloth. “Son, do you trust me?”
“Of course. Father, you know I trust you. I would trust you with my life.”
“And that’s exactly what you’re going to have to do. Come here, son.” Isaac stood still as Abraham wound the cloth around him. When Abraham lifted him and placed him on the top of the stones, there were tears in Isaac’s eyes, but no sound came from him. He closed his eyes and lay still.
Abraham’s hand shook as he raised it above Isaac, the knife gripped in his fist. He was blinded by the tears that would no longer stay behind his eyes. His muscles tensed as the knife hovered over Isaac.
A cry rang out from high above him. “Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now I know that you trust and fear me.”
Abraham lifted his eyes and saw a ram caught in some bushes nearby. God had provided the offering.