One year passed in a blur.
It was an interesting year. Seeing a ninety year old woman waddle was enough amusement to brighten the day. I would chuckle anytime she was trying to stand up from her favorite chair and she would raise her eyebrows at me and that would send me into a fit of laughter and she would frown in mock anger just for a moment before joining in the laughter. My Sarah was always happy in those days and it was contagious.
Surprisingly too, the pregnancy did not worry her much. Apart from the early morning disease that occurred for a few weeks, she breezed through the pregnancy. I suppose that was a blessing from Yahweh.
Exactly one year to the day of the visit of God to me in the tent, Sarah delivered a son. I remembered how anxious I was in the sixteen hours that she was in labor. Despite her pains, Sarah, still was telling me to calm down and at a point the midwife had to tell me to leave the tent. Sarah was strong throughout the labor and delivery.
I can’t describe the emotions that coursed through me as I held my son in my hands. This was my heir; the promise of Yahweh, that had taken twenty four years to materialize. I was awed and ecstatic and sober. God indeed was good and faithful and He never fails. The fact that I had doubted Him, dampened my joy but only for a moment.
Sarah looked at the child lovingly as it was placed on her bosom after he had been cleaned. ‘’Isaac’’ she said in a whisper and looked at me, ‘’his name is Isaac. Who would have thought that I would bear you a son in your old age’’. Her voice was filled with awe and gratitude. Her words echoed the thoughts in my heart.
‘’Isaac’’ I rolled the name on my tongue and mulled at the meaning. Laughter. It was appropriate for the occasion. God had given me cause to laugh. He has removed the reproach from my darling wife Sarah.
Following the birth of Isaac, things changed in my household. Ishmael began to spend more of his time in the servants’ quarters and less time with Sarah and I. he also began to get into fights with the kids in the neighborhood and more than once he had threatened to harm them with a bow and arrow.
I began to get worried and several attempts to get the boy to talk proved abortive. The boy was always sullen and moody and was withdrawing more and more.
One day, I finally got to know what was eating the boy up. It was in the evening and I was returning from the fields where I usually had my quiet time with Yahweh and I had decided to take a different route. It was a tiny footpath that led to the servants’ quarters. I was passing by Hagar’s tent when I heard a voice that made me stop.
‘’I wish he would just die mama’’ it was Ishmael’s voice. I was shocked and stood rooted to the spot. His voice was laced with so much hatred that I found to difficult to believe that it was coming from my own son. But the voice was unmistakably Ishmael’s.
A voice shushed him and I presumed that it was Hagar’s. ‘’don’t you dare say something that evil again’’ it was Hagar’s voice ‘’don’t you know that he is your brother?’’
‘’no. he is not’’ Ishmael replied with vehemence, ‘’he is an impostor and he has come to take my place as heir. I know mama, I heard the servants talking one day that God had promised father that the child he would father through Sarah will be the heir to the promise. They had even said that they felt sorry for me, and that I was going about like the rightful heir’’
There was silence.
I opened the tent door and entered inside the tent. My heart was aching for my son. How did I not think about this sooner? I chastised myself. Of course, the servants’ gossip and the poor boy had had to hear about such a sensitive matter from the local gossip mill. I saw that he was in the arms of Hagar who had hugged him tightly to her bosom. She had looked at me and I saw tears in her eyes. Her heart was aching for her son too. She pulled away when I reached her.
‘’Ishmael’’ I had called him, my voice hoarse and choked with tears. He had looked at me with teary eyes and the depth of emotions in those eyes had shocked me. I saw raw pain and hurt and hatred in those eyes. Then he had looked down for a moment and ran out of the tent.
I was at a loss for what to do. How was I to make the boy understand the purpose and decrees of Yahweh? He had never taken a liking to the things of God and would always be impatient when I talked to him about Yahweh and often times he appeared distracted.
The boy had begun to avoid me from that day and he would make sure that he was not alone with me in the same room. He would spend most of his days in the mountains hunting and staying with the herdsmen. He avoided my eyes and the only words we said to each other was the cursory greetings and pleasantries.
Things came to a head when Isaac was three years old and he was weaned. As it was the custom, I had thrown a feast to celebrate the occasion. I has been in the room after the feast had ended and Sarah had charged into the room livid and demanding that I send away Hagar and Ishmael.
My heart had picked up its rhythm and I could feel the blood rushing into my ears. ‘’why would I do that?’’ I had replied trying to stay as calm as possible
Sarah had being pacing the room and she had recounted the events of the day. She had asked Ishmael to play with Isaac, his baby brother, now that the lad was free to roam around following his weaning. Ishmael had looked at her with disdain and had said that Isaac was not his brother but a usurper and will never be the heir and had turned and stumped out leaving her and the servants that had witnessed the outburst stunned.
She had said that with Ishmael around, he would be a threat to Isaac and she didn’t want any rival for her son. I knew she was being irrational and told her to let me talk to the boy although I had no idea how to approach the matter. Sarah had put her foot down and insist that the boy had to go. I almost blurted out that Ishmael was my son too, even if he was not going to be the heir. I had besought Yahweh on his behalf and He had promised to make the boy great too. I refrained myself however and left the tent to go to the field.
I had sought the face of God over the matter and the reply He had given me had broken my heart. ‘’listen to your wife and do as she had said. Send away the bondwoman and her son’’
How does one cut himself away from his own flesh? I wondered. First, it was Lot and now, my very own son. The pain was unbearable.
I did chase my son away and I never heard of him till I died. No day passed without me longing for my son.
My son never got rid of the hatred and pain of the perceived betrayal and today he wages war against his brother, and tries to reclaim the birthright. My dream has come to pass, my children leading armies to fight against each other and at each other’s neck. It is sad.
Dear little ones, walking with God can be hard at times especially when he tells us to let go of the things that we hold dear to our hearts and to focus on His plans for us. We really have no choice to submit to His will and obey Him in all things.
Till I died, I was heartbroken over my son, Ishmael, but I quietly submitted to His will
Till next time when I continue my story.
Obey God in all things and learn to submit to His will always. It will be hard, do it all the same.
Thanks for your feedback, it is always appreciated.
Desert tales is the story of Abraham, adapted from biblical accounts. Read more about Abraham from Genesis chapter 12- 25. Thanks Yemie for your suggestions.