Isaac at the Sacrifice

My father has laid me on the pile of wood,

carefully and gently—there are no splinters poking me.

My arms and legs are bound firmly,

but no more tightly than necessary for the purpose.

I see my father stare for some seconds

at the knife in his hand.

I see the sun glint off the blade.

A tear from my father's eye falls on my cheek.

Still I think, how can this be God's test

of my father's faith and obedience?

Surely God sees everything within as without,

so He must know the strength

and steadfast faith of my father's heart,

an upright man, not perfect, but with few peers on earth.

I see the knife begin to move.

"ABRAHAM!" The word comes suddenly from above.

"Here I am," he answers. His face is wooden,

hope wrestling with resignation,

as if he does not know what command will follow.

"DO NOT HARM THE BOY!" The rest is lost,

as in his hurry to put it down, he nearly drops the knife.

He grabs me, lifts me off the wood.

The flood of his warm tears washes my shoulder.

In that instant, I know my faith in the righteous God

has been greater than his.

Keith Tornheim, August 4, 2008