death (Ask AJ #5 follow up)

by humanmama on August 24, 2011

I heard from two people who lost a child since I wrote about God.

Let me tell you, if I lost a child–to death, that is–you can sure as hell bet that I would be seeing that child again. In heaven, or anywhere, really, someplace where I could hold that child, where he or she could live in my arms again. Where I could be so totally whole again, like I would never be on earth if I lost one of my children.

One thing I never understood about the Bible is the passage about Abraham and Isaac. Abraham (long story) had a son with his slave woman Hagar, but God decided to give Abraham and his wife Sarah a child very late in life (i.e. age 99). Isaac was their treasure, the love of their lives. But one day, God said to Abraham “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:2). Abraham takes Isaac up the mountain, all the while (like a wonderful child) Isaac never asks his father about the sacrifice (usually a lamb or other animal that they would  be taking with them). When they get to the place of animal sacrifice, Abraham bounds Isaac and puts him on the altar, on top of the wood they’ve brought to burn the animal.

In Genesis 22:10 pretty much every version of the Bible you can get reads something like this: “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.”

Spoiler alert: an angel of the Lord calls down to Abraham from heaven right then, saying that he did the right thing, “‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.'” (Genesis 22:12)

Now, what kind of God would ask this of a parent? And what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t say, okay, then, I’ll see you in Hell?

This is what I mean. I truly believe in something greater. Something higher. Something more spectacular than we are, that goes on eternally. I believe if I lost a child, like my grandfather, or like our friend Pat who was in our wedding and killed in a car wreck not too long afterward, that I’ll have them again. That somewhere I will find them, when my spirit leaves my body, and I can hold them again. I’m just not confident enough to say how.


Believe me, though, children. I would find you.



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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Xiomara Maldonado August 25, 2011 at 4:53 am

This Bible story always bothered me too! I could never understand how he could literally raise his hand with the intention of killing his son. Funny enough, my mom mentioned this issue just a few days ago. Apparently, her pastor preached that Abraham knew that God wouldn’t actually take Isaac away from him since he had promised him that generations would come forth from this son. (Especially after God chastised him for trying to take matters into his own hands by sleeping with Hagar and telling him that Ishmael was not the promised son.) I certainly like to think of this story in that way now (but still!)


Rebecca September 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Abraham’s willingness to kill Isaac is an interesting story–especially since many bible scholars think that Isaac was in his teens or early twenties. That would have put Abraham at almost 120 years old (since he was 100 when Isaac was born). (Documentation for this can be found at

My guess is Isaac was also willing to obey God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his son. Otherwise, I think a 16-25 year old could probably have taken on a 120 year old! I think that Abraham also had an eternal perspective and trust in God’s plan for him. I don’t know how else he could trust God’s promise that he would be the father of millions and still be willing to kill his only son.

Another interesting tidbit about Abraham and Isaac from the web: “The early Christian church viewed Abraham’s willingness to follow God’s command to sacrifice Isaac as an example of faith and obedience. For Christians, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son is a “type and shadow” of God’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Jesus.” From Wikipedia, Isaac, under the heading of World Views.

If God could let His own Son die for us, I can definitely image Him asking that of another of His son’s–knowing that He would not make Abraham follow through.

Anyway–just a few random thoughts:-)


Jimmy Rybowiak September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

By no means considered it that way.


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