In the Bible, Abraham uttered three perfect words of prayer in answer to God’s call.
When I was a kid, I had a couple of truly inspired and inspiring Sunday school teachers who had a passion for the Bible. We didn’t just read it, we acted it out. We learned to identify with the characters.
In fourth and fifth grade I had the indomitable Mrs. Clarke. She was continuing a project that she had begun years earlier, a film of the Bible. In fourth grade she cast me as Abraham.
What does a kid know about Abraham? A lot if he gets to act it out. Staring up at the stars, for instance, and hearing God’s promise that He would have as many children as there were stars in the sky. A promise that seemed impossible for an old man.
Or hearing God tell you that you should leave the land where you were living and where your people had lived for generations because there was a promised land for you elsewhere. Think of the risk of that. Imagine what faith it would take to follow that promise. Maybe that’s why I ended up having the courage to go to college and settle thousands of miles away from my beloved family. Who knows?
Or the hardest story to fathom—still hard to take in—that God would ask you to sacrifice your son because, well, because God said so.
I remember acting this one out for Mrs. Clarke’s Super Eight camera. We did it in the park and my friend Brian Booth played Isaac. I raised my plastic knife, ready to do the horrible deed. And heard a voice, a heavenly voice. No, God would supply a ram as replacement. (Mrs. Clarke spliced in footage of a ram.)
The words that stuck with me, even in Mrs. Clarke’s silent movie, were Abraham’s answer to God. “Abraham, Abraham,” the Lord says. Abraham’s answer: “Here I am.”
Isn’t that a perfect prayer for any age? Isn’t that what I say silently as I sit on the sofa first thing in the morning to pray? Isn’t that what I hope I will always be able to say when I feel and hear God’s call?
There are mysteries in life. There are tragedies. There are moments we will never understand. But if I can always be ready with just those words, “Here I am,” I might always be ready for what life brings.
Thank you, Mrs. Clarke, for your wisdom and your Super Eight camera. Here I am.