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Topic: Graduation (08/30/04)
TITLE: Friend of God
By Roger Crane
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“I’ve made up my mind, Akkad,” Abram replied in a soft, but firm voice. “Or rather, the Lord has made it up for me.”
“The Lord?” This was going from bad to worse, Akkad thought bleakly. “Which lord, Abram?” He turned and gestured broadly toward the statues which stood at mute attention just beyond them. “Which of these would tell you to waste your life in the wilderness?”
“You do not understand, my dear friend, but it is well anyway,” Abram replied, before he leaned toward his friend and pressed his lips to both cheeks. Akkad returned the kisses with a sigh, knowing that his friend had never changed his mind once he had decided on something. It was part of what made Abram great, he thought wryly. And yet, he would miss this wise and gentle man so much!
“Abram, when are we going to have a child...your son?” Sarai’s voice was plaintive, yet steady. It almost seemed, Abram thought, that it was he who was withholding his seed, rather than God.
“I do not know, Sarai,” Abram said, and he stroked her long, chestnut hair--which was not really chestnut anymore, for all the gray in it. He smiled, that sad, sweet smile, which Sarai had come to know in the last few years.
“Am I in God’s place?” he said. “When it is his time he will give us a son. He has promised.”
“Yes, I know.” With her usual response, Sarai drifted across the darkened room, toward her quarters, and Abram drifted away in memory. How long ago it now seemed, when he was young--so young, and so trusting. Was it wrong of him to leave Haran? He saw again his good friend Akkad’s face, urging him not to leave. Abraham suddenly had to grin. He had not been young then! Many of his acquaintances had already gone from this world. But, he had seemed young to himself. Probably Akkad was also gone now. Yet, Abram and Sarai lingered on. For what? Or perhaps, he thought, he should ask, for whom?
Ah, yes. The seed! The promised seed. “As the sands of the seashore,” God had said. “count the stars, if you can...so shall thy seed be.” Abram could still feel those words resounding in his heart, with the gentle force that could only come from Almighty God.
“Father,” Isaac called to Abram, here is the wood, and there the fire, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abram looked down upon his son, now grown so ruddy and showing every sign of great understanding. “What a man he will be!” he thought, and sighed deeply--so deeply that Isaac cocked his head and had a questioning look in his face beyond concern for the lamb.
“My son, God himself will provide the lamb.” was all that Abram said, but it seemed to satisfy Isaac, who turned and quickly led the way, finding a path up the hill.
“He’s just like me,” Abram thought. “Trusting.” And, a knife stabbed into his own heart at that thought, not for the first time. There would be two to die today.
Abram knew, though, that he wasn’t always so trustful. He had had many hard lessons, through which he had learned that trust was not as simple as he had thought back in Haran. There’s a price to pay when you put your trust in someone else, he thought again. Sarai had paid the price to follow him. And, she had forgiven him when he said--twice--that she was his sister, rather than his wife.
“No,” Abram concluded, “this boy is better than me. That is well.”
“Abraham, Abraham.” The voice seemed both close and yet far away. Abraham knew that voice, and as through a dense cloud of incense, he approached it. What was this place?”
“Abraham, my friend.” the voice came again, and then Abraham knew. Just as the light resplendent broke over him, he knew. It was over! He’d been victorious. His Earthly life had ended and Eternity had commenced. He would now see his great Friend, face to face. This was graduation!