Abraham was still on my mind, when I met our Jehovah’s Witness Missionary. I wanted to suggest that Abraham was not a spotless paragon, but that God still worked out his will through him. Not that I was trying to paint the Patriarch as wicked.
When I mentioned Abraham’s deceit, letting the Kings think Sarah was not his wife, my spiritual sparring partner countered: ‘But he had to do this because Sarah was so attractive, she could get from the Kings what they had and Abraham did not, and Abraham would not lose his head’.
As ever, I came away frustrated that discussion did not happen at all. The uncertainty factor implicit in discussion – neither of us may be completely right, both of us could learn from our conversation – was unwelcome.
Indeed uncertainty can be hard to live with. But Abraham surely lived with it:
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. (Genesis 12:1-2)
Abram’s leaving home to cross the desert, was a true act of faith, I agreed, but God is the most active one in this whole story.
My encounter did one good thing: my wife was sleeping after her night shift and was not disturbed by the rappiest knock our door ever undergoes!