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“Give me your son!” the words reverberated still in the corners of his mind. No matter how hard he tried to forget, the memories only became more vivid as time went on.

It still was his worst nightmare these days as he struggled to make sense of what happened. A test? If so, it certainly was the ultimate one to test his devotion. And yet, it had turned into a nightmare for him.

At the time, he had obeyed without question. Without thought even. His heart had faltered only once as he looked into his son’s eyes. The trust in them was overpowering. For that one moment, he had hesitated. He had doubted.

What God would demand such a terrible price! This was his child! Wasn’t it his first duty to protect his life? And the child did not even know how not to trust. How can he harm him!

But all those doubts lasted but an instant. God had made the demand. Who was he to doubt His wisdom?

So he had raised the knife and pretended that he did not see the shadow of fear and mistrust that spread across his son’s face.

And then God had intervened and his child was safe. It was only a test after all. God was pleased. But he had known even then that nothing would ever be the same between him and his family. There always seemed to be a shadow between him and his son; the shadow of a raised knife and the stench of betrayal.

They had all accepted that it was a test They had all agreed that God was merciful. But none of them had been able to forget that he had been willing to wield that knife.

And the shadow in their hearts had never lifted. His wife had lived her remaining life with that shadow and even in the moment of her death, he had seen her eyes haunted with the memory of that incident.

His time too was fast approaching. He could feel it in his bones. And he was afraid to die with this shadow in his heart. Even the blessing of God is a double edged sword, thought he. God keeps testing us till the moment of our death. His faith, his devotion was being constantly tested. And he feared that he was not up to it. For it was not love of God that filled his heart these days. It was the memory of a child’s eyes that had learned the meaning of betrayal. And he feared to die with that memory.

He sighed. He still could not make sense out of it all. And that was perhaps his ultimate failure. Because, he realized now, it was not necessary for him to understand. There was no need for him to even seek to understand. All he needed to do was to accept. Had it taken him so long to understand this? No wonder, God had sought to test him so severely.

His head bowed and he prayed. For the first time in many years, there was no shadow in his heart, but only peace.

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