Indeed, as deep as his devotion was– to give up everything– it was almost nihlistic to give up his only son in this way. He would have no future, and no past with his people. He loved Issac almost more than his wife. And he would destroy it all for God at His say so. I’m not so convinced he would have lived long past that. God stopped him because he did not want his beloved son by adoption to destroy not only his own son but himself.
It is not just devotion but self immolation.
I don’t mean Abraham was going to go into the desert and off himself. I mean he would be an undead husk wanding through his days until he died.
But Ours is the God of Life, not death.
With Lent coming up, we tend to think of sacrifice as something that takes it out of us. That pain is good for our souls. It is not so much the pain itself, but what it reveals to us by changing our perspective. Sometimes in our comfort we forget what we have. Unable to see our way to gratitude until our shallow contentment is taken away.
Indeed, it often takes something that makes us unhappy to see the happiness and contentment in our lives. Start your penance with joy. Instead of seeing it as a lack, be curious about what God has given you that lays neglected. Look for new joys that were so subtle you never saw them. We can rejoice in learning from our all the good we ignore. The everyday miracles we’ve forgotten whisper to us always. To see them, we need to remove what gets in the way. I bet Abraham never saw his son in quite the same way again.
Often our blindness comes from emptiness. So our rash actions scream out to God, and he comes forward and shows us what is real, and what is mercy.